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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    January 18, 2013
    9:00 - 2:00pm EST  

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others, like transparency or bringing the parties together. those to me are very important big promises. or helping the economy. how did you weigh those? when he makes a promise on the plus side, does he get a plus on at 500 or does he get a negative? the net -- the next time, does he get guest: we have a category called obama's top promises. you can look at those and you can see that i think his record of fulfilling them is not quite as high as overall. you make a good point -- some of his promises were sweeping and thematic and others were very specific. there were two that were lighthearted -- we included two promises like that. one was his promise during the campaign that he would buy his daughter as a puppy which is a promise kept in the other was
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that he would fight for a college football playoff system which we also raided a promise kept indeed, you could say this is the aggregate and you need to look in on the more narrow numbers. we published an article yesterday but we welcome anybody who wants to tally them up in different ways and provide an analysis. all promises are not created equal. host: we are looking at the top promises on politifact - tell us more about compromise. guest: the credit for workers is
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a tax credit that was part of the economic stimulus originally, he sought $500 and i think ultimately, law was less than that. that was a classic compromise that he did not get. another compromise was his promise to repeal the bush tax cuts for higher income. his goal was couples making more than 200th $50,000 or couples making $200,000 and the fiscal cliff deal did not achieve that. we rented that a compromise. let's go to fort lauderdale,. caller: with respect to not keeping a promise for negotiations with a health kicce -- i think that a somewhat wrong. i have watched the other
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representatives of congress on tv every day negotiating and debating and putting their facts together. the final decision between nancy pelosi and the head of the sun -- of the senate when they finally came out with exactly what the bill would be -- it was done behind closed doors. the putting together of the bills, people putting in their amendments, was actually done on cspan every day and i watched that. secondly, with respect to these people calling about taking away guns. there is nothing about taking away people's guns. if they go through a background check, they don't need to have a gun. the second amendment does not say that they can have any kind
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of amendment of they want. guest: let me answer your question about the meeting is being televised you are correct that the debate about the bill in congress was, to some extent, televised through the normal proceedings that cspan covers. obama was referring to the early negotiations which is what he had been critical of hillary clinton for -- the part where deals would be cut with the pharmaceutical industries and hospital industry and those negotiations were all behind closed doors, involving those lobbyists and involving key players from the health-care industry. that was the part he was referring to and that part was definitely a promise broken. you could argue that a -- that the congressional part is only partly open.
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the big negotiations in congress have been behind closed doors and sun comes out in the open but as someone who covers congress, it is not allowed in the open. >host: some of the top promises that politifact looks that -- let's take a listen to president obama in his own words back in february of 2009 talking about iraq. [video clip] >> a candidate for president, i made clear a time line 16 months to carry out the drug them while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we have made and to protect our troops. these consultations are now complete. i have chosen a time line that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months. let me say this as plainly as i
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can -- by august 31, 2010, our combat mission in iraq will end. host: that as president obama back in february, 2009. guest: that is a promise kept this was the centerpiece of his campaign. you can go back to 2003 with his opposition to the war. a promise that week raided was barack obama will work with military commanders on the ground in iraq to end the war safely and responsibly within 16 months and we raided that a promise kept in 2010 as the last combat troops were removed from iraq. this gets back to what we were talking about about presidential power. there were things that he can do as commander in chief on the military side to fulfil promises and we will have his
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promise to end the operation in afghanistan in our new promises. you mentioned the torture which is tougher. we get into this with fact checking. in the shadow world of the cia, it is difficult to read what is a promise kept or broken. it is based on all the evidence we could find. the claim by the bush administration was that torture had ended even before president obama took office. that was a promise kept as far as we can tell. ,he thing about the obameter we will change a rating and we have done that many times. host: others include guant, which is considered a promise broken. also warbler's wiretaps as a compromise. guest: closing guantanamo bay is
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interesting because even though he had support from his party in both houses of congress, that was the one he was not able to do. caller: i would ask your guest to address mr. obama's promise which drew in the young voters that he was going to be great unifier. i would contend he has deliberately set out to polarize the country and that 51% of americans voted for him but that the other 49% of americans that voted for him feel like he is sticking his tongue out at us and giving us the finger. i feel we are more polarized than we were and i see that as a promise greatly broken. guest: in fact, there is a
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promise to the fact that we do have the promise broken. we represented by his promise to bring both parties together to pass an agenda. as you say, there has not been success at that. there is a very robust debate about who is to blame but in terms of actions -- i have not seen him stick out his tongue or flipping the bird at anyone but i can say event this is definitely a very polarized place. that is a promise broken. host: here is a tweet - guest: i think more than ever.
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this is the kind of journalism we should have been practicing years ago. there is this battle of talking points and you hear these claims and you wonder if that is true. is he really going to do that and that is what we are all about. i think politifact ever. this is the kind of journalism we should more relevant than ever. 2012 was the year of the fact checker. fact checking mattered in many a campaign and i think it mattered in the presidential campaign. host: let's hear from virginia beach, democrats line. caller: good morning. when he went back and checked president bush, there are things that have been said are still around for president bush. i believe they can go back and
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to the some of the fact checking. i am wrong about that? guest: no, it could be done, it's just a matter of resources. politifact is part of the "tampa bay *," that has made a tremendous commitment to subsidize this important commend them for five years now but it is expensive and it is hard journalism. it takes skill reporters and it takes time to do these things. to go back and do it for previous presidents, it can be done but somebody has to pay for that. as a news organization, we think is most important to do that here and now. it would be great if somebody wants to take our approach and go back in time. it would be of great historical value. somebody just to write a check. host:bill adair has worked in
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washington since 1997. among his work, he is the author of a book which can now back in 2002. let's hear from william, in harvest, alabama, republican. caller: obama took an oath to uphold the constitution which i don't think he did. i want to know how high you have him rated on that. host: give us an example? what do you point to to prove that? caller: there are several different things. like immigration and appointments he made and that all relates to the constitution, his presidential powers he thinks he has which he doesn't. there is a lot of things he has done. i want to know how this guy -- guest: this is a classic
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opinion. we simply cannot fact check an opinion. we want to give -- empower democracy and informed opinion. we will tell you the facts about what congress has done, what the administration is doing or not doing and in that up to you to have opinions like that a. goal is to empower democracy. in doing that, we cannot fact checker opinions. host: stone mountain, ga., independent line. caller: i want to commend you guess for what you do. i read your articles every day for the past year or two. you have educated me.
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you have enhanced my knowledge of a lot of things that i have heard that comes out of the republicans or conservative talk-show hosts by criticize obama. after reading your article, i found out what i hear on a rush limbaugh and the michael savage show was absolutely a lie. host: you give us an example? caller: a whole solyndra tuition. i found out the facts by reading your article in our local paper. the whole solyndra thing started with the bush administration. guest: thanks for the kind words. i am glad that you are reading them in your local paper one
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thing we are trying to do, as much as we can, is get our work out in different ways. we have partnerships with television stations. have partnerships with newspapers. the one you are read for into in atlanta uses the truth-o-meter on state and local officials. i am glad to hear you are reading our work and their work and i am happy our word is getting out host:politifact looked at issues -- looks at issues like energy. what to do find overall? guest: a lot of that area was included in the economic stimulus bill. it was a big grab bag, $787 billion of goodies that included many things for energy and the environment.
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i don't recall offhand the overall ratings for energy but i know a lot were included in the economic stimulus bill. host: is president obama making fewer promises that he was initially? guest: absolutely, the 2012 campaign was a campaign of attacks. when we look back at the moments of the campaign, as you look at the debates, what they were sitting on the campaign trail, what they were saying in commercials -- they spent some months of the time attacking each other and relatively little really laying out their agenda in any detail. particularly, mitt romney did not provide any details about his tax plan but even obama spent some much time attacking the romney that there were fewer promises made. there was less of an agenda.
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host: one last look at theobameter - he has made progress on 73% of his promises. thank you for being here this morning. coming up next is our regular america by the numbers segment where we will look at how american students are performing in schools and how they rank compared to the international community next. we will look now at a live shot in front of the capitol building. you can see where the inauguration will be taking place as well as the parade route on pennsylvania avenue toward the white house. that takes place on monday and c-span will bring that to you live. the president will be sworn in officially on sunday and monday, the pomp and circumstance takes place as we watch live here on c-span.
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>> bye, morocco san obama, do solemnly swear, that i will execute the office of the president of the united states faithfully. >> when chief justice john roberts administered the oath to barack obama on january 20, 2009, there was a major problem. roberts was supposed to say "i
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will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. " barack obama stopped and paused and smiled as if to say, come on, man, this is my big day. you have to get this right. unfortunately, he did not get it right so the very next night in the white house, they did it again. this time roberts used notes which he had not used the first time and they got it right. >> we walk for the history of democracy's big day monday at 8:00 a.m. and again at 8:00 p.m. eastern. this is part of a three-day holiday weekend on c-span 2's book-tv. >> the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. this honor now beckons america,
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the chance to lead the world at last out of the valley of turmoil and onto that high ground of peace that man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization >> must embark on new programs, scientific investments and the improvement of underdeveloped areas. >> of this weekend, public radio's back story with the american history guide, exploring the history and tradition of presidential inaugurations live saturday morning at 11:00 eastern. this goes right through inauguration day on c-span 3. >> [video clip] " tenuous. >> host: we are looking at how
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american students compete internationally. thank you both for being here the national center for education statistics looks at how students are doing. jack buckley, what age ranges are you looking at? guest: we have a range of studies where we assess u.s. students and compare them to their peers internationally. in this particular release which was released about zero a month ago, we are looking at fourth and eighth graders, fourth graders in reading and mathematics and science and eight the greatest in mathematics and science. >host: we have special number set up if you want to join this conversation --
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what do we learn as we dig into help fourth graders and eighth graders are doing? guest: the broad strokes over view, we see that our fourth graders, they're reading has improved as well as mathematics but their silence is largely not changed compared to the previous administration. over the longer term, they have improved and their eight th graders have not improved much. in general, the assessments compare the u.s. to a variety of countries and education systems within countries. some of our state's took the assessment independently along with the u.s. total. when you look over the entire set, i would say the u.s. among these countries shows up in the top 10 or 12 countries or
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systems. host: we can see who was included in the fourth grade reading study. why these countries? guest: they are given the same tests so much of the efforts in an international asset as making sure the tests are comparable across internationally. the tests are given in different languages and i might be sensitive to local idioms but the assessments are designed to be equivalent across the country. in terms of who participate, this is voluntary. we have broad participation but there are several obvious areas of the world that are missing, either they can afford to participate or have chosen not to. in all of these assessments, there are international governing bodies or international authorities that
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said over them and the efforts are attempting to expand the population of countries that participate. generally, we see participation of more countries. host: looking at fourth graders, we see reading and math skills has improved and science has improvedun changed. guest: this particular grab it does not show everything. if we look across the entire distribution, we still lowest performing u.s. students with scores that have improved over time. there is a story of improvement among the subjects. this is something we also see in our national assessments. in the u.s., we have seen in mathematics and elsewhere, improvements for our younger students. host:tom lovelss, when you see
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these numbers, what does it tell you? guest: they bounce around from administration to administration. i think it is wise to take a longer view. i like to look at scores over a longer period of time like a decade or more. if you go back to 1995 and look at the fourth and eighth grade, the u.s. has made steady progress. i am encouraged by these scores. host: let's get to the phones and have you join the conversation, new jersey, a parent. caller: good morning, i'm trying to get an idea of when you look at these grades, the scores in these particular grades, it is a way to measure the average cost.
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of educating these students. i look at how the braves have change in how the cost to educate children has changed over the same time. host: before we get to our guests with that answer, what is your experience like as a parent? caller: fortunately, i have seen my children perform well. i see the watering down of various coursework looking over the previous decades. i am concerned with inflated grade in math and science courts and i am concerned with the major push in american education for self-esteem over academic scholarship. guest: i think that is one of the reasons why we do these
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tests. we do national tests so we can --- monitor state and local systems and how well they are doing. we conduct international tests to give us another check so we have an objective to see her students are doing. as far as money and cost per pupil, the u.s. ranks near the top of countries in terms of the amount of money we spend. that has been increasing worldwide but more slowly given the recession the entire world just went through. host: can either of you comment on inflation? guest: one of the purposes of international assessments that are standardized, we want to make sure we're measuring things in a constant weight. a school district or state may be inflating their state assessments locally, we hope these sorts of assessments would be immune to the kind of
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pressure. question is the one about productivity. in public a test of education, we spend over $600 billion systemwide. that number continues to go up as you adjust for inflation and are scores are not going up across all the grades as the money is. host: from twitter -- take us through what we are seeing comparatively. guest: to show all the countries would take too big of a slide so we boiled it down. this is for the fourth grade across the three subject. taking the country is and systems together, the u.s. out of about 50 countries and systems is near the top and all three subjects.
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at the fourth grade level. below the line shows an alphabetical order the various countries and systems that are outperforming the u.s. national average. host: for example, we see five countries have higher averages then the u.s. in reading. guest: fla. and hong kong are technically a system. a lot of noise was made about this that florida ended up outperforming the country on average with fourth grade reading. florida was the only state that participated in reading as a state independently. if all the other states have performed, is on likely florida would have outperformed all the other states. we see that florida in the early reading is doing quite well. move on to math and
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science. there are countries that performed better than the u.s. when we look at science -- what is significant about the systems or countries that can do better than americans? guest: in this particular test particularthe thames test, four or five asian countries have dominated that test and they don't just outscore the united states. they outscored the rest of the world. that is a significant aspect. one consistent pattern has been our younger students do better than older students relative to other countries. there is another test called the pisa which examines 15 year olds and our 15 year olds do
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worse than our fourth and eighth graders. as our kids get older, they don't do as well. host: let's hear from all lowery in north carolina who is a teacher. caller: good morning, i have had a variety of experiences but it has been an interesting 17 years. mostly with high school but we have had exposure to international students. i have had exchange students in my classroom and my home. some of the country's that rank relatively high, for example china and japan, i don't know that much about the nordic ones but we had some time with kids in france and england. i've got a bit of an exposure here. the perception i get is there is a concern that all of our kids
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tend to be tested to a much larger degree than all the kids from some of the other countries. i think that is true with china. also, in singapore, i have been told, have not been able to clarify this for sure but 75% of the kids in singapore have tutoring access. in china, i worked with the graduate students here close to the university. the chinese kids, at least the ones we see here, go to school 11 hours per day. they still do homework at night. one of the perceptions i have with our schools compare to
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others is that the kids are older. their attitude about learning, i think, is not as positive as we see is some of these other countries. host: we will leave it there so we can get a response. here is a tweed -- guest: i don't think we know a whole lot about year-round attendance. these are not the right instruments for us to evaluate that. the cultural aspect is absolutely critical. it is not just what the schools are doing in different countries, it is how the country's impress upon kids the importance of learning and there is no question that in the higher achieving nations that a completely different attitude
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abounds about learning. it is true of schools and families and the culture at large. guest: first of all, the cross- cultural differences is one of the primary reasons of why these two -- of what we do these international assessments. i think we can see around the world that there are various systems that perform quite well and are different from each other. it is hard to draw a single lesson. if only we could make our country or our state more like another system, that would not be guaranteed to work. the united states is different than other systems in the world in terms of diversity of population and we have to educate and what they come to school prepared to do. i would hesitate to draw any lessons directly from the country based on data like these.
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host: dr. jack buckley is commissioner for education statistics t. we are looking at new studies showing how u.s. students compare internationally, examining grade four and a great age. eighth grade, mathematics and science. caller: i think parent involvement has a lot to do with whether children succeed. when you look at children in african or asian nations, their parents are involved and i want to know what they are doing. in this country, they go on to college more than any other group in america.
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they put a big emphasis on education so that shows you how much a parent can do. guest: across the very many studies we have done in the u.s. and internationally, it is hard to argue with the involvement of parents. guest: and parental expectations. if parents have high expectations and have their child on a pathway to college, that also pays off. host: we will hear from robert in baton rouge, louisiana. caller: good morning, my understanding is that the united states has a higher poverty rate than other industrialized countries. is that a factor in holding our children's academic achievement down? guest: yes and no. yes, in the sense that we know that children who come from poverty tend to have lower test scores. we have a higher poverty rate in
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the new the -- and the united states but nevertheless, in these tests, there are countries like south korea. it was completely destroyed by war in the 1950's and beginning in the 1960's, it started out at a low level at a low per-capita rate. a good part of the country was in poverty but today, it is one of the highest achieving countries in the world on these tests. poverty does effect scores but by no means does the pre determine how country will do. host: + the rison report looks at advanced performance. what does that mean? >> in addition to reporting the scores for the numbers which don't have much meaning out said the trend, the panels of experts will set benchmarks and decide a score above such and such a level is advanced.
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the exact meaning of what advance is depends on grade level and subject. students scoring at the advanced level and fourth grade mathematics, for example, you were given a cooking recipes that would serve sex ever asked to adjusted to serve for. -- to serve six and you were asked to adjust it to serve four. host: you can see what the numbers are and where the united states ranks. why is that performance is significant? guest: this is interesting because although the u.s., on average, does fairly well compared to the other systems, in this graphic, you can see that only 13% of our students nationally met this benchmark. it's the look of the other countries we have been discussing, singapore, 43% of
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their fourth graders met the advanced a benchmark. there is room between the high performers and the united states at the very top of the mathematics ability. host: how you interpret this? guest: i agree, to housing our most advanced students is a policy issue, something we have not done. we have been more concerned about raising the achievement of low performers and sometimes, i think the united states would tend to ignore the high achievers and not challenge them. host: let's hear from norman, oklahoma law, who is a parent, good morning. caller: i have a degree in mathematics. sometimes i wonder -- and i will
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be done in a couple of years with my ph.d. -- should we move to france or stay here? despite everything about the american system, how come the universities are qualitatively better than european ones? despite the crappy american educational system, how come the universities are better? guest: that is a riddle that a lot of analysts have been trying to figure out our universities are known for their quality. we don't measure quality quite as often at the university levels. we do k-12 but i don't have an answer to the caller's question guest: the united states government cannot give you
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advice on moving. we have many excellent schools and school systems in the united states. one thing that comes across in the storstudies is we have many districts that compare well locally. it is quite possible to get an excellent education in the united states. there is a lot of diversity and some districts and schools that are not doing as well as others but i would not give up on all of our schools. host: endora is a teacher in georgia, good morning. caller: thank you, i have talked and a variety of capacities from being a reading specialist on the island of guam to teaching high-school adults. i have noticed a real decline over the years in a focus on writing, critical thinking skills.
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i am wondering why the reading of eight craters was not focused on? only the math and science. it seems to me that if comprehension is an issue, it will -- is a problem across the subject areas. guest: in this particular international assessment, we do not assess eighth grade reading. that is more a decision among the various participating countries. in the u.s., we take that seriously. we continue to assess reading and writing at the fourth, eighth, and 12th grade levels. there is a great deal of interest moving to the next generation of assessments in trying to get the language arts. to be more authentic. that is certainly something that
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this international group of assessments has not caught up with. host: from twitter -- can you give us a sense of how students are doing in the fourth grade compared to older? guest: we see this trend across almost every subject where fourth graders have been improving steadily over the last decade but we do not see the same levels of improvement at the 8th grade levels. that does not mean they are falling off. in many cases, our eighth and 12th graders are keeping pace but they are not improving at the rate of fourth graders were. looking across the bennie subject we assess, i would not say this means is because fourth graders don't think.
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our fourth graders are quite good at thinking. some of the items we assess require higher thinking but as things get more complicated when you get older, i would hesitate to take that reason. host: it looks like the eighth graders math and science and and how they trended since about 1995 -- they are essentially un change. guest: if we look at the high performers and low performers, there is no difference between the most recent administration and today. looking back to 1995, you can see some growth. in the longer run on this particular set of assessments, there's a little bit of improvement over the longer term but clearly, the rate of improvement is relatively flat. host: what do you make of that? guest: if they go back to 1995,
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in both subject at the eighth grade, the change is significant but in the last four years, this particular test is given every four years, it is not. host: here are the top systems that the 8th grade level, looking in math and science. these have higher averages than the united states. jack buckley, more systems perform better by the time americans visit the eighth grade than the fourth grade? guest: if you look at these systems, we include more states. some of the highest performing states or systems and tune -- in the country are u.s. states. look at massachusetts, minnesota, they are historically high-performing states. in vienna --
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-- indiana. some of our states are among the best on average. at delivering mathematics and science instruction. guest: the thing that jumps out at me when i saw that day tet especially mathematics had to do with not the united states but with the country of finland. in the u.s., there has been an outbreak of finland worship. the united states scores the same as fenland. that is pretty interesting. host: let's hear from harris in louisiana. caller: good morning. i am a former high-school science teacher. i'm a father to middle school students. i do want to congratulate that the top title has been dropped. i think the perception that poor
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children don't do as well -- they got 10 times the amount of funding that rural kids in west virginia gets. i think throwing money at the problem is not the answer. host: what is your take away as your experience as a teacher? guest: when i had ninth grade students that were considered average, they could not read or write effectively add a third grade level. throwing money at their program does not create an academic environment. host: what would have created that environment? guest: a focus on reading, writing, mathematics. host: how much control did you have as a teacher to help those kids? gue
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caller: absolutely none, there were more administrators. none of them were involved with anyone -- any meaning -- anything meaningful after academic. guest: let me rephrase the caller's statement. one of the items that the panels have looked at is the question of autonomy. when schools are given more freedom to make decisions about their own budget and hiring and firing of teachers, is that correlate with higher achievement? indeed, it does appear to be correlated with that. that is something we need to do more research on and dig into the international date it deeper. the idea that schools should be more autonomous and not overregulated, i think the caller is probably correct on that. guest: when we were discussing poverty, the point was in general, higher levels of parlors -- poverty are
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correlated with lower levels of achievement. it is not necessarily poverty that is the direct cause. the caller discussed a bullying. there's a certain level of dysfunction in the school would you don't have sufficient resources and the kids are frightened and afraid to come to class where no learning will take place. abject poverty can cause an absolute breakdown education but the trick is in the middle where there is a certain amount of power but there are resources and using them effectively in getting them into the hands of the teachers who can reach the population of students and then having the administration stepped back unnecessary but also have the ability to monitor without necessarily setting policies too high. host: dr. jack buckley and we are joined by dr. tom loveless. to a go to holley, mich.,
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retired teacher. caller: good morning. incorrect information on taipei. it is taiwan. aden and rustie department, it has been changed officially. they use tie 1 as a name to issue visas to taiwan. host: tell us about your experience as a retired teacher and what to think about the education system? guest: it is great but we have such misleading information, it is difficult for us to express to the kids. i was in 11th grade teacher for about three years brett when it comes to information or issues,
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there's always some kind of debate which name is correct. guest: it is an issue we are sensitive to. in most of our other reporting, we will call out taiwan as taiwan-province of china. i have met several times with the consulate here. in this particular case, this is internationally determined. picture the united nations but smaller where records on this from the contras would argue. we are constrained to follow that particular international body's convention. guest: these titles of the countries can be controversial. they are negotiated. host: let's take a look at the
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systems that had a higher percentage of the advanced level in eight grade math. you can see where the united states ranks and which systems including countries and states that are above it. what is the headline of this? guest: 10% of our students are reached the bench to bench mark in a craig -- in mathematics. look at the highest performing countries -- half of their eighth graders are at the international advanced benchmark. even though our eighth graders, the percentage of high- performance students is well below the very best. host: we see the asian students with many numbers performing at
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the advanced a level. guest: there is a national movement to put a craters into high school mathematics. that is like algebra and above. you can reuse -- read to this data two ways. there is a need to give them more advanced math but a pessimistic view might be that we are placing a lot of kids in advanced math who are not prepared for it. if our eight craters are performing at this level and have only 7% performing at this level, we don't have a region where naturally prepared for a high-school geometry or mathematics class. host: tell us about your interpretation of the science performance. guest: what is jumping out is
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look at the #two system. the second highest, the system with the second-highest level is actually massachusetts. when we assess the state of massachusetts separate terror -- separately, about 1/4 of their students were provision in science. you can find high performing u.s. school systems but look at the top, 40% of singapore eighth graders are advancing in science. even when we get near the top, there is this gulf between the very highest performance and our own best second. host: from twitter -- let's hear from jessica, fla., who is a parent.
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caller: i'm a parent of a fourth grader, he is only eight. in florida, they test them out regularly and he is testing at a sixth grade level nationally. the school that he attends and the neighboring schools have cut their funding. all the talented programs, my kids did not take any of those classes. i'm sorry, i am nervous. the problem is, he is only eight so he cannot take the advanced class is back on in high school or college. i don't know what to do to continue his a education when he is testing out well. the schools don't have the resources to give him a challenge. host: thank you for your call. guest: i would go to your school
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district and see what kinds of programs they may have for your child's needs. i would also, if you're not satisfied with that, i would look on line because there are growing opportunities online to challenge achieving children. united states often does not do enough to challenge our- achieving students. >> again, some of our school districts across the country have very robust, gifted and talented programs or other ways to get the highest performing kids chalice appropriately. in florida, they have a virtual school district. it it should be possible caucus i would hope that states would invest more money. florida has invested more money.
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guest: some districts offer gifted and talented magnet schools. you can also get above-grade level curriculum. caller: how are you this morning? i had a few questions about the assessment itself. i was wondering if any data were collected on teacher training or on comparison of the curriculum? and whether or not they collected data that outlined whether or not a particular school had a union or not. guest: yes, this assessment is
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given to a national representative sample of students which would include those in private and parochial schools. the assessment contains, in addition to the cognitive assessments, their background questionnaires given to teachers and administrators to the students themselves. there is a great deal of additional data available as far as curriculum, this is one of the strengths of this international assessment system. there is a giant multi-volume encyclopedia that also comes out which details an enormous amount of information about a country bus system and about their curriculum. this is probably richer source that i know of in the world to figure out compared to what different countries are doing. kuwait ins hear from
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whitehall, montana, who is a parent. caller: i understand and assess and has been made of students and teachers and teacher training. i wonder what assessment is made of administrators? thank you for taking my call. guest: although there are some states that give entry assessments to teachers -- in all of our tests, we do not assess teachers cognitively. we do research them. in the u.s., our attempts to measure quantitatively teachers. there has been a movement to expand that to administrators. there are a bunch of difficulties in that but there
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are a bunch of academics researching that. host: what would that show? guest: we asked the teacher is their background in terms of their own education and training. it shows and the united states that we have fewer teachers who majored are mired in mathematics that a lot of the high-achieving international countries. host: we have been looking at a new study on how u.s. students compare internationally. thanks so much to both of you gentlemen. that's all for ""washington journal." take it to a live view of the inauguration preparation. this is the west side of the u.s. capitol building and you
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can see everything getting under way already. they have been doing dry runs. this will look very different on monday when the crowds gather for the inauguration ceremonies. we will see you tomorrow on "washington pearl >> c-span cameras crossing over
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constitution avenue and looking at the north side of the west front. here on c-span, our inauguration
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coverage starts on sunday. the official swearing-in at the white house shortly before noon eastern. it begins with a look at the president's 2009 inaugural address. and then on monday, the public inaugural swearing in at the capitol. our live all the coverage begins on monday at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.lorg. you could participate by phone, facebook.com/cspan. today attorney general eric holder speaks to the u.s. conference of mayors.
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the attorney general will be joined by transportation security administrator, john pisco. that is a love and a clock 30 -- that is 11:00 thirty. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome joe biden and mayor michael hunter. [applause]
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gentlemen. it is, of course, my distinct honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce our good friend and my good friend, vice president joe biden. throughout his career as a public servant, vice president biden has championed issues that are critical to the prosperity and growth of america's cities, and he has engaged directly with the u.s. conference of mayors on a regular basis. during our annual meeting this past june in orlando, vice president biden pledged that the obama administration would make sure that future infrastructure investments are more targeted to local areas. in november, last year, the vice president hosted our leadership in the white house to discuss the fiscal cliff and the concerns of mayors regarding both investment programs and tax-exempt financing. issueer there's a major
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that demands attention, again and again and again, vice president joe biden has shown the leadership and courage needed to help move our nation in the right direction. and that is why i was certainly heartened when president obama asked vice president biden to lead a special task force to develop responses to the tragedy not only at sandy hook elementary school, but the daily tragedies we see all across america. the nation's mayors and vice president biden have stood together for many, many years in support of public safety. after all, it was then-senator joe biden who championed the crime bill, which established the cops program and included the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, which congress unfortunately, allowed to expire. yesterday, i was personally very proud to be in the white
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house as president obama and vice president biden unveiled a strong, comprehensive package of legislative and regulatory reforms needed to response to the ongoing gun violence in america's cities and suburbs. seey day america's mayors the carnage caused by illegal guns and assault weapons that have no place on our nation's streets. working with president obama, vice president biden and the congress, we will make sure that the changes that are needed to protect our children are made. ladies and gentlemen, u.s. conference of mayors, welcome back our great friend, vice president joe biden. \[applause] >> thank you very much. please, please be seated. thank you all very, very much. an honor to be back with you.
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i would like to begin by acknowledging two folks from delaware who are here who are engaged in this subject as well. one i have known for years and years. he is now our new mayor, dennis williams, i don't know where you are out there, but welcome to the conference, old buddy. great to have you. and dennis and i go back to the days when we were writing the crime bill when dennis was a police officer in the city of wilmington. and also the chief law enforcement of delaware is here that i have known even longer. we share the same last name, the attorney general of the state of delaware, by son beaux and i do whatever he says because he has the power to indict. \[laughter] >> all kidding aside, i'm proud of my home state as we used to say in the senate, point of
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personal privilege, the progress they are making, efforts they are making under the leadership of our governor on the very subject you talked about. and i say to dennis, mayor williams, forgive me, i'm so used to referring to the mayor of philadelphia as my mayor because i spent about half my life in philadelphia and my granddaughter resides in the city limits, i want to be particularly good. my daughter is also a voter there as well. so i have to be particularly on good behavior. ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be back. i look forward to this opportunity every chance i get from the time i was a young fellow and new to the united states senate. it's one of the groups with whom i have had a relationship with for a long, long time and nice to be with a group of people who you agree with on all of the issues 90% of the time.
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so it's nice to be with you. i know you have come to talk about a broad range of very important, challenging issues that are facing each of your cities and towns, energy, infrastructure, budgets, finances, crime. and i want you to know that we, the president and i, and the important part of that is the president, continues to be absolutely committed to do all we can to help the cities deal with the immense problems that get thrust upon them as a consequence of diminished tax bases, as a consequence of housing, a significant portion of the public and the states that are in the most need. we are committed to having a third phase of the so-called big deal in the budget. we're of the view that just as it took during the clinton administration, it didn't happen
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in one fell swoop. the economy in great shape and move toward a balanced budget. it started off in three phases. it started off with president bush's actions, the first president bush in terms of taxation before president clinton took office. and then the actions the president took in 1994 and then in 1997. well, we think there is a third phase here that can set our country on a path that will allow us to get our debt to g.d.p., our deficit to g.d.p. down around 3%, which is the basis of all economists left, right and center all agree on the areas we can begin to grow as a country. and as my grandfather used to say with grace of god and goodwill of the neighbors, cooler heads will prevail now between now and the time we deal with the debt ceiling and we may meet the goal which we set out to do, which is to have
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roughly a $4 trillion cut over 10 years in the long-term deficit and to put us on that path. but i didn't come here to talk about any of those important subjects today, because as important as they all are today we have a more urgent and immediate call and that is how to deal with the epidemic of gun violence in america. you all know the statistics better than anyone so i'm not going to repeat them. on that score, i owe an incredible debt of gratitude to you at the head table and those of you in the room. i know we don't have unanimity in this ballroom nor do we in any ballroom, but we all acknowledge that we have to do something. we have to act.
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and i hope we all agree, there is a need to respond to the carnage on our streets and in our schools. i hope we all agree that mass shootings like the one we witnessed in newtown 34 days ago cannot be continued to be tolerated. that tragedy has affected the public psyche in a way i have never seen before. the image of first graders, not only shot, but riddled with bullets. parents in the streets panicking, trying to find out if the child they put on the bus in the morning had any prospect of going back on the bus and going back home that afternoon. for 20 of those parents, the answer is no and i believe as i'm sure you do, we have an obligation to respond intelligently to that crisis. and i know many of you feel the same way. i have had the occasion to talk
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to a number of you and i wanted to start by thanking all of you, including mayor bloomberg, who is not here today, although i spoke to him on the phone. thank you for your input and incite. again, not all agree on what should be done. but you have probably more than any group of elected officials thought about this issue more intently and longer. you have done a great deal of work on this. all of you who deal with the issue every day. i'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but if i did, a lot of people would put their hands up in this room. how many of you mayors attended the funeral of a police officer or an innocent child in a drive-by shooting or shop owner in your city? many of you, many of you have had to attend and many of you, many, many funerals. some of your communities experienced mass shootings, not
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just in schools, but movie theaters and temples and not unique to big cities. it was -- i happened to be literally, probably turned out to be a quarter of a mile back in 2006 at an outing when i heard gunshots in the woods that we didn't know where we thought there were hunters. i got back to the clubhouse in this outing and saw helicopters. it was a shooting that had just taken place in a small amish school just outside of lancaster, pennsylvania. so it's not just big cities or well-to-do suburbs. it can happen anywhere. but i also know that it's not just about mass shootings.
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>> the murder rate of all the our towns is well known to be well beyond what is remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance. it isn't just about mass shootings. it is gun violence of all kinds. think of it this way. over the last several years, over 25 people died in gun that related homicide in this country every single day. that is the equivalent of the third most deadly mass shooting in history happening every day in this country. as much as we intend on making schools our focus, making them more secure, the truth is most
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schools are safe. it is going to and from schools that young people are in the greatest danger. we do not see that on the news much anymore. we hear about mass shootings but not every day gun violence. i remember my friend, daniel patrick moynihan, one of the greatest guys i've known -- when we were on the floor debating the issue of the clinton bill, he stood up and said -- he told the story of the valentine's day massacre in 1929. and how it shocked the world when seven gangsters were gunned down in cold blood.
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it made the fog page -- the front page of every major paper in the nation and around the world. but in 1992, when a woman say to three month-old baby from execution by hiding that baby under the bed -- she was shot and killed along with her husband and teenage son. that story turned up on the second section buried in the back of the new york times. it was not front page news. it was barely news at all. i'll never forget what he said. he said, "i called that defining deviancy down." it wasn't even news. had it happened in 1929, it
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would've been astonishing. we can no longer to continue to define it deviancy down. we cannot wait any longer to take action. the time has come. as you know i delivered a set of recommendations to president obama on how we can better protect americans from gun violence i have been getting both credit and blame from that. i want to make it clear. the only power the vice president has is reflective power. none of it matters. were it not for the leadership of the president of the united states -- this is the practice. i am an agent.
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he asked me to go back because of my many years in the judiciary committee -- he asked me to do a survey as quick and thorough as i could in a short time frame and present it i had the incredible help of some first-rate cavan members, starting with the attorney general, secretary of education and, security, secretary of health and human services. and we met with a range of 20 -- of 229 groups. representing a wide range of prospectus. from members of the law enforcement community, including many from your cities and states, to gun safety advocates, victims of the shootings, both in virginia as well as in colorado. sports organizations hunters.
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gun owners. the nra. i spoke to many of you in this room as well. no group was more inconsequential and instrumental in shaping of the document reported better than all of you in this room. after literally hundreds of hours of work and research done by the justice department and the health center -- after of -- after reviewing every single idea that had been collecting dust in the shelf of some agency in government, a set of principles emerged the was not universal agreement on it but eight overwhelming consensus.
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. if you'll permit me the next 10 or 12 minutes, i will lay out for you what they are. the first foundational principles is there is a second amendment. it comes with the right of law- abiding citizens to own guns. the second foundational principles, certain people in society should not and can be disqualified from being able to own a gun because they are unstable or they are dangerous. they are not the citizens but the vast majority of gun owners comprise. 3, we should make common sense
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judgments about keeping dangerous weapons off of our streets. clearly within the purview of the government, at the same time recognizing, honoring, and being compliant with the second amendment. four, this is not just about guns. it is about our culture. the coursing of our culturewhether it is with video games, movies, or behavior. it is about the ability to access mental health services and the safety of our schools. it is a very complex problem, and it requires a complex solution. and based on these principles, and a vast array of groups and experts, we put together a comprehensive plan based on a common-sense approach where i believe, from heading this group, there really is
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overwhelming consensus. there are disagreements in degree, but the consensus on the principles i have laid out. we asked a number of questions. by the way, we recognize how different oliver states and cities are. -- all of our states and cities are. how different the gun culture is, held the gun culture in rural america than in urban america. how different the gun culture is in states that are overwhelming -- my home state of delaware. most of you probably do not realize, we of the highest per capita cohn -- gun ownership because of the accounting, the amazing tributaries that go from the delaware bay, chesapeake bay, and the various rivers that flow into the bay. it is a paradise for hunters. it is a big business, as well as institutional. it is culture.
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i remember all woman from delaware, the reason i got elected to the senate. she said now joey, i want to show you something my dad gave me. this was a woman who was 78 years old. she walked out in the backyard and said you know, it is the season now, right now. she said it is goose season. do not get mad. she walks into her den, takes a shot gun all over the fireplace. -- off over the fireplace. i walked out and she says my daddy told me how to steady aim, and i want a lot. if you did that in the upper east side of manhattan, you have a problem. [laughter] but it is really important, because some of you who share very strong feelings about gun
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control. i think it is important to understand the ethic were a lot of us come from. but it is not this culture, the recognition of the differences in the cultural behavior and attitude. from arizona to new jersey. although south jersey, it is a big deal. my generic point is recognizing those differences does not in any way they get the rational -- negate the rational prospect of being able to come up with common sense approaches or how to do with the myriad of ownership. who has that done? we asked a number of questions. the purse question we ask is who first question is who should be prohibited from owning a gun? current law has evolved over time, and we have considered
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the question. my senior year in 1968 graduating was an incredible year. the only political career i ever had, bobby kennedy was her -- assassinated two days before i walked across the stage for graduation. dr. king, the one who got week engaged in politics, was assassinated earlier that year. even assassination attempt at a george wallace. it is no wonder things held together quite frankly. well, the congress passed what was then called the gun control act. among other things it said that felons, fugitives, drug users, those who have been adjudicated and it is not a politically correct phrase, but it is in the law, those that are mentally affected could not own a gun. 1994 as a world change in
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country changed, along with the thing i am proud is for having written and passed about. we added a new category of people who were prohibited from purchasing a gun. based on facts, not on fiction. that is those who had a restraining order issued against them in a domestic violence incident. that was a fight to get that added. then, two years later we expanded the list again to include anyone convicted of a misdemeanor violent crime, that they were the most likely people to do something. time and experience has demonstrated we continue to take a close look at the risk to see if it fits the needs of society at the moment. it is part of our recommendation to the president to suggest the president directing attorney general to
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study that question. should any other people be added to the prohibited category? certain convicted stalkers can still purchase a gun. people with outstanding warrants, as long as you do not crossed the line into delaware, they can go buy a gun. people have been convicted of misdemeanors for abusing their children have now been added to the list. as all of you know, you deal with it every day. there is parental abuse for elderly parents. should they be prohibited? i am not making a judgment, but i am convinced we have to look at whether or not the prohibited category should be expanded. the most delicate area is the mental health area. study. this is where you find the pro- done guys to prohibit more and anti-than to say it is privacy. -- anti-gun guys to say it is privacy.
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these are the categories the present have the attorney general looked at. -- the president asked the attorney general to look at. there is a second issue involved, and all of you know it. we have a thing called nix. it is a place in washington, d.c. it runs the background checks on people before they can buy guns if they are in the prohibited class. it is a little bit like if you ever have bought a gun, i purchased two shotguns, a 28 in 12 did shotgun. -- 20 gauge and 12 gauge shotgun. just like when you get a credit card, if the bank does not have on record exactly what you have in that account or not have in the account, then you have a problem. it is only as good as the information available.
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right now the information being put into that system is woefully incomplete. states are supposed to make mental health records available for people who cannot have the guns. today there are 17 states that have made fewer than 10 mental health records available on the background check system. 10. there are tens of thousands of felons the estimate is, who are convicted in your cities and states. that information is never transmitted to the system. so we recommend to the president that he redirect, because no one knows for sure whether or not it is an illogical judgment they are making or an economic issue.
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so we asked the president to redirect $20 million to the states to help them update the records and make them available. he has decided the justice department should do just that. money only goes so far. a lot has to do with leadership. again, i apologize for being parochial. i will always be a senate tie and a delaware guy, but i am very proud of our home state. delaware has moved from one of the worst-performing states to one of the best performing states as a consequence, at least as rated by the mayor's against gun violence. it is about leadership. it is about making the decision to make this available. i know you folks have a lot of influence in your states. that is not quite true. [laughter] i have a bad habit of being straightforward. the truth is you did not have
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nearly as much influence and she should have in your state. all kidding aside, i would ask you to continue to push the legislatures, governors to make the record available. i am not suggesting there is any nefarious reason why it is not being done, but it is not done. i would also ask you to think about whether or not we should consider making the record sharing it mandatory. as a matter of law. or do you think the president incentivizing states information is enough. we would like to hear from you on that. one of the things we have learned is the federal government has not been doing a very good job in the past 10 years either about sharing information available. so, the president issued a directive order like everyone got all of an arms about.
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one of the executive orders was he directed every agency to make sure we live up to our end of the bargain to share relative information within the lawful possession of the government to that system if it contained people who should be disqualified as a matter of law. one to figure out the pieces, there is still another broader point. that is systems identify people who should not, not only cannot but should not possess guns only works if it actually prohibits those people from purchasing guns. that is why we need, and i would recommend to the president, universal background checks. [applause] study showed up to 40 percent of the people -- because of the
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lack of the ability of federal agencies to be able to keep records, we cannot say with absolute certainty what i am about to say is correct. but the consensus is about 40% of the people who buy guns today do so outside the background check system. right now someone purchased a gun from a licensed dealer, he is required to undergo a background system which takes a matter of minutes. he divide that exact same gun from a private seller with no background check at all. that is change. -- that has to change. think about it. imagine you get to the airport and there are two lines for security. one of them you have to go through the metal detector, take off your shoes. the other one you could go straight through to the plane. where are you going to go? especially if you are carrying something you're not supposed
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to? which line the you think the terrorist picks? the same thing about gun sales. why would a criminal by a gun at a store where he is required to do a background check, or at a gun show from a licensed dealer where he is required to go to the background checks when he can buy a gun from the guy the next booth over were has a sign that says no background check required? i will not go into detail for why that is the case because it is the definition of what constitutes a best-seller. -- a gun-seller. so why would we not do everything in our power to stop that? whose rights are being infringed on? the lawful citizen, the guy who has nothing to hide or woman that has nothing to hide goes through the system. virtually no complaints. even with an incomplete system,
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there are almost 2 million convicted felons, adjudicated, mentally incompetent and the rest of the categories i have just mentioned denied the ability to legally buy a gun. so it makes no sense to me, especially since when i wrote the original assault weapons ban there was a 12-day waiting time and a six-day waiting time, and then the nra said something that i agree with. they said we will not object if you can do this quickly. so we invested a lot of time, money and effort into setting up the system. by the way, i want to sell you might 12-gauge shotgun which has not been used much lately. shotgun in my home. it is not a big deal to take another 20 minutes to go to sporting goods and they will run the check for us. it is the inconvenience.
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it is not an inconvenience relative to the potential whole it they plug in the system. we can make exceptions if i want to leave my guns to my son who knows how to use them -- a better shot than i am because he is a major in the army. my other son hunter is better, too. we may be able to write exceptions into handing down guns to family members. but there is no reason why we this. to try to pick up the pool of roughly 40% of the people who buy a gun without any background check. the third question we ask is what kinds of guns should be kept off of our streets? some purists say wait a minute, you could take any that you want off the street. not true in my view and the second amendment. others will say you have no right to take any cut off the street.
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because as jefferson said, the tree of liberty is water with the blood of patriots. you hear it all the time. guess what? no one doubts you were able to tell someone you cannot go by an m1 tank. you cannot have a flame thrower. so it has been established, there is the ability to have legitimate limitations on the type of weapons that can be purchased. towards the end we looked at two issues, a definition of assault weapon, anti-capacity magazines. -- and high-capacity magazines. the president believes there should be, new and stronger assault weapons ban.
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i know the industry will do whatever it can to get around it and they will figure out a way. we can define the stock, scope and a lot of things, but they can get around it. i also know we have to try or believe we have to try. what i also know is assault rifles are not the only kind of gun that can accommodate high- capacity magazines. some of you are big game hunters. i am being literal. most of the weapons used, rifles can take clips that can accommodate 30, 40, 50. you do not, but they can accommodate it. we recognize the weapon of choice in your town also is not a rifle. the weapon of choice in the vast killed with a handgun. you could put a lot of rounds in the glock and the other hand
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and weapons. we're calling for the prohibition of high-capacity magazines all together. we can argue whether or not we are right at 10, 12, 7, 9, or 15. we know it makes no sense. like we have learned since columbine, newtown, police reached the seen it in incredible *. local officials have done incredible jobs and reducing the response times to crises. but high-capacity magazines leave victims with no chance, and all too often we police outgunned as well. magazine. -- in aurora he had a 100 clip magazine. had his weapon not jammed, god
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knows how many more people would have been killed. i met with gabby giffords has been the other day, and he -- husband the other day, and he pointed out to me when she was shot, you know this better than i do, when she was shot, but for the death that the assailant had to put in a clip and fumbled and a woman jumped out and grab him, prevented him from putting a new clip in. the new congressman who was injured and shot probably would not have been around to tell the story. so in newtown, some of those children were riddled with 11 bullet holes. high-capacity magazines are not worth the risk. [applause]
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high-capacity magazines do not have a practical sporting purpose or hunting purposes. as 100 told me, if you have 12 rounds, it means you have already missed the deer 11 times. you should pack the sucker in a go home. -- as a hunter told me. think about it, you will hear, for sporting at gun ranges. i do not know why we cannot say those weapons should not be kept at the range if that is what they're for. make that judgment. without any way impacting on your sporting enjoyment. the next question we ask is how
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we make our streets and schools safer? with regard to our streets, i believe and the president believes that cops make a difference. i remember when i first wrote the cops bill. i was told we tried that before. we never tried that before. [applause] i should be clapping for you all, because of past and you made it work. you may community policing work. crime and violent crime is down because of you, the way you employed those additional police officers. that is why it happened. we still think, for to relate in these economic difficult times -- particularly in these economic difficult times for you all, we want to provide state and local governments with the resources they need to keep cops on the street, even during the hard economic times. [applause]
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by the way, michael said and joe will make sure these programs go directly to the cities. i went like that. i tried that with the recovery act, but i tried it with cops and it worked. cops it worked. here is the deal, if you do not think you should find yourself in a position for having to cut funding for law enforcement in order to pay for services, we that we are want to come back at it again and push again for another $4 billion in grants for cops. [applause] it is important. thank you. i do not want anyone confusing that with the argument that every school in america should
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have armed guards and armed teachers and armed principles and the like. in the original cops' bill as we wrote it there was a provision for school resource officers. i admit to you when i wrote it the first time, i was not thinking of mass shootings, but what i was thinking about was the same principle of community policing. the reason why community policing works is you get your local law-enforcement officers acquainted with and it culminated in the neighborhood where they build trust. so mrs. jones on the corner who was watching the drug deal go down every night and seeing shootings and having her window blown out a couple of times, she is going to pick up the phone -- she is not going to pick up the phone and call city hall. she is afraid. if she has a relationship with the local cop, she will say charlie did not say anything but let me tell you what is happening on my corner. the same thing happened with school resource officers.
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what happens is they stand in his school armed or unarmed in uniform and the kids get to know him and they think it is cool talking to them, and it is like talking to your coach. what we found out, kids say things like john, when i opened my locker of this morning, three lockers down, 47, there was a handle of a gun sticking out. john, do not say anything, but there is a drug deal going to go down in the back of the gym today. john, there is born to be a-- going to be a rumble. toe is what we're want propose. we believe school resource officers play an important role. but that you should have significantly more flexibility in how to use them. that is why we are proposing a new school safety program that funds officers, but also gives
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your communities the flexibility to apply for other support. so school resources officer will cost you a certain amount per year with the money the federal government is putting up. you can see we would rather have a school psychologist, or we want a school resource officer who was unarmed. what we do not want, we do not want rent a cops, those who are not trained like police officers. we are not insisting schools use police officers. if they conclude they need a school psychologist, you can apply for the funding that would otherwise, for that purpose. we will also make sure every school has a reliable emergency response plan. i know i am preaching to the choir when i say you have not been the idea how many school districts all across the country have picked up the phone
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and call my office and said can you tell us what the best plan is it something like this happens? one of the few things the federal government can do well is figure out what best practices are. by going around the country taking the information from you, deciding what best practices are, and then going out to say look, congress has funded the creation of the plans. school districts who want to take advantage of them, here they are. we are asking the congress to fund the, to fund the safety implementation programs. the next question we asked was how can we improve access to mental health services so people get the help they need before it is too late. we look at the circumstances when people age out of medicaid.
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you got these kids getting mental health services. all of a sudden they age out of there is nothing there. nothing they can do. the social worker or social worker like my daughter where she worked for the state and now she works for a non-profit. all of a sudden, what are we going to do? kids still need help. -- he has aged out. warningoking for the signs to refer them on. less than half the children with diagnosable mental health problems ever receive treatment. we need to change that. i am proud to say we are already positioned better than we ever had in history of the country to make great progress because of the affordable care act. [applause]
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and because of the leadership of republican senator the medici and ted kennedy on mental health parity. we have to get this nation to the point, and that is where we will speak to this in a second, where in fact a mental health problem receives the same credibility and coverage with a doctor or psychiatrist as when someone breaks their arm. by the way, parenthetically as my son who is an iraq veteran, we have a lot of women and men coming home with an visible injuries. -- in visible injuries. over 19,000 will require help the rest of their lives. i spent all last night at walter reed meeting with the number of entities that are on floor now are down. spending all night with the
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kids that are double amputees. there is another category of people. we do not know the number, but we know it is significant. traumatic brain injury. the invisible disease. the invisible illness. with post-traumatic stress. a man would be mad at me if i gave an example of a case, but there is a lot of veterans coming home having trouble. the suicide rate is astounding. almost one a day. almost one a day, because there is not sufficient mental health capacity in the system. we're doing everything to go out and hire 78,000 of folks, but the point is we have to go out and deal with this. the question we asked was, how? how to do that? that will take more time. we have concrete answers we will make available to you.
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what we think on how to begin the process. the next question we asked folks was have you prevent gun trafficking? the bane of the existence of the seven biggest cities in america. -- how do you prevent gun trafficking? it started with creating a federal trafficking statute for guns. we have one for drugs. but there is no federal traffic for guns. [applause] a substantial percentage of the gun crimes committed in your town are committed with weapons purchased outside your state or city. in illinois, 47 percent of the guns recovered at the crime scenes were purchased outside of the state. in new york, 68%. the only way to stop this is a federal trafficking statute. we recommend to the president that he call on congress to pass a statute, and he agreed. some of those guns are bought by people who passed the
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required background checks to buy weapons for others. maybe they give them to a middleman to transport them from one state to another. there is a not a specific law against straw-purchases. straw purchases are often out of the prosecuted patchwork or paperwork. the only way you pick them up is make a paperwork violation. you know as well as i do how many guns are unaccounted for. we need strong federal laws to help us. i know i have taken a long time but this is something so many of you have spent a long time talking about and i want to give it to you straight here. we asked what can we do better about understanding gun violence?
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some of you know that when the gun bill expired in 2004, one of the things we were able to do back then in 1994 was allowed to gather at a substantial amount of information. the cdc was able to conduct research on gun violence. we can figure out some basic things about its causes and abuses. not only did the congress not review the assault weapons ban in 2004, it also with significant impediments on federal agencies who were doing basic research and was specifically prohibited. the cdc is prohibited by federal law from doing research.
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there are the tree are amendments that further constrain the ability to gather that. we need answers to a lot of questions. we need better understanding of the causes. we need independent studies to determine not only the impact of guns and how people died and what kind -- and what type of guns and so on -- we need studies -- this is where the entertainment industry does not like me at all. we need studies on what are the impacts on young minds of witnessing repetitive violent acts on movies, television, or video games. [applause] that is not an indictment of the industry. that is a recognition that we have no modern studies on these things. they seem intent on doing what they can do to help.
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the vast majority of americans do not even know. if you have infinite the, you can go on with your grandchild and watch those early-morning cartoons on saturday that have acceptable violence as cartoons. you can program your television to take out extreme violence, moderate violence, you can do it now. fenty% of the parents have no idea of that. -- 90% of the parents have no idea of that. we do not have sufficient data. to be an informed society we need data. the president signed and directed to allow the ctc to gather that information again. i think that is a very important step. let me conclude by saying once again thank you. not only what you did to contribute to this report, but for allowing me the opportunity to come in and be as explicit
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and long and hopefully not boring in laying out to you the elements that we need to look at. let me acknowledge the truth. too many in this country have been silent for too long. we cannot be silent any longer. those 20 beautiful children who lost their life are no longer able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them. 900 people who lost their lives in the city streets to gun violence are not able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them. more than 9000 lives lost to gun violence in our city each year are no longer able to speak for themselves. somebody has got to speak for them.
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there are some who say that the most powerful voice belongs to the gun lobbyists. i think they are wrong. this time will not be like times that came before. new town has shocked the nation. the carnage on our streets is no longer able to be ignored. we are going to take this fight to the halls of congress. we are going to take it beyond that. we are going to go around the country making our case and we are going to lift the voices of the american people. we are going to be criticized because people say if we spend that much energy -- we are not spending enough energy on
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presidents don't get to choose what the deal with. the deal with what is in front of them. -- they deal with what is in front of them. i asked the mayor of chicago, in the early 1990's, if there was anything i could do for you, what would it be? he said, it did rid of the drug problem. it would transfer my city -- get rid of the drug problem. it would transform my city overnight. we speak for our children and our families, and those we lost. when we have the courage to do what we know we should do, we can change the nation. i have been in this fight a long time. i have no illusions about what is in front of us.
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i have no doubt that distortions will come from all sides. the political obstacles that will be thrown up against us are not impenetrable. we have no choice. we will not be able to look our kids and grandkids in i if we do not use every energy, every fiber of our being to try to keep them safer. we will not be worthy of the generation that is going to grow up now without those to the innocent kids and thousands of people already lost. -- 20 in the city kids and thousands of people already lost. -- 20 innocent kids and thousands of people already lost. as the president said, if we can save even one life, it is worth it. i believe together we can save a whole lot more lives than that. i believe we can begin again,
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not because of guns alone, but we can begin an endeavor that stops a that culture in american society. i believe we can begin to turn it around. it is not only because of guns. it is other things. it may be what happened and newtown was a call to action about more than just gun violence. about civility in our society. i think you all. the dollar in the front lines. -- you all are in the front lines. may god bless the memory of all who have fallen. thank you for your time. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> in half an hour, attorney general eric holder will be speaking to the conference of mayors about reducing gun violence. this'll be his first public remarks since president obama announced a wide-ranging agenda includes tougher background checks and a new federal statute on gun trafficking. the attorney-general will be joined at this event by transportation security administrator john pistole, all of a clock 30 eastern on c- span. -- at 11:00 eastern on c-span. joining us inr's our studios. stephen benjamin of north
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carolina, a democrat. scott smith, republican. give as a snapshot of your city, where things stand. guest: for the last year are too, we have said the good news is there is no more good news. it has been a slow but steady improvement. arizona really hit the bottom with foreclosures. we got hit in one of the worst ways in the housing boom. we're coming back. our city revenues have increased year-over-year after a three or four year slide. we're still hovering around 8% unemployment because of the decimation of the construction industry. we're in that steady low,
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looking for that bump. host: your biggest employers in the greater miss arizona area -- mesa-arizona area? guest: apache helicopters. we have a large relieve airport. aerospace is big for us. -- reliever airport. aerospace is a big for us. host: the tax structure in mesa, where does the money come from? guest: we have no primary property tax in mesa. we collect property tax to pay off or bonded debt. we survive on self taxes and state shared revenue. when the economy goes up, we're doing pretty well. when consumer confidence goes down, we tend to have the roller-coaster economic affect.
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host: mayor stephen benjamin, a quick snapshot of your city, where your tax structure comes from, and who are your largest employers. guest: columbia is the largest city in our state. the state capital. a large hospital system is our largest employer. but we have a relatively sensitive tax structure that sees about two-thirds are real- estate not on our tax rolls. barbara taxes, business licensees, -- property taxes, business licensees. abortion or the unemployment rate decrease down to 7.4%.
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-- we have seen our unemployment rate decreased down to 7.4%. a great focus on regionalism. host: with so much talk about the debt and deficit, cities often do that by floating bonds. explain how that works in mesa, arizona. guest: we do not go into debt to cover deficits. mostwe get our fiscal cliff literally three and four years ago. we had to figure it out on a cash basis counterbalance our budget. westreets, police stations, mainly some work, water, those kinds of things.
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these are financed with tax- exempt invisible bonds. hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars. one of the proposals that does not seem to want to die is to somehow tinker or eliminate the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. this is extremely important to us. you are talking about the basic financing infrastructure itself of cities and states. that is huge. mesa is not a heavily indebted city. host: mayor benjamin? guest: scott and i spent a lot of time together over the last two years. he has been a great proponent of
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infrastructure. making sure the the primary financing mechanism that we use 75% of the nation's postal finance using invisible taxes and bonds. -- nation's financing using bonds.lmunicipal taxes and understanding that this tool we're using to finance this infrastructure is significant as we seek to comply with the epa burdens their place among local government -- they're placing on local government. the exemption on made visible bonds has been around as long as the income-tax -- municipal bonds has been around as long as the income-tax has been around. local and state governments do
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not tax interest on federal debt. the federal government does not tax interest on municipal debt. that relationship is so important. it has become a reliable financing tool. less than 1% of these bonds in default. -- default. we have proven ourselves to be good stewards. we believe infrastructure will be a key way to get americans back to work. we need to make sure this tool is the primary mechanism and goes untouched. it is sacrosanct. host: the budget, economy, guns. presidentr from vice- biden in a few minutes as he
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addresses the gun issue. our phone lines are open. you can send us the e-mail or join us on our twitter page. let me ask you both about what is happening in number of other cities. harrisburg, pennsylvania. you talk about infrastructure. facing or discussing the possibility of bankruptcy. as you look at what other cities are dealing with, what lessons can you apply to your respective cities? guest: scranton, harrisburg, bernadine no -- san bernardino -- these are the exceptions. we are in fairly good financial shape. the biggest challenges we have a are the same as a lot of others.
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business, pension debt. that seems to be the one factor of many of these cities. host: how much goes to a pension? how much is taken off the top before you can do anything? guest: in most cities, 70% + goes to public safety or more. 70 plus percent side of any department -- you can imagine what that does to a city budget. in mesa, with a debate on the public safety level and for most of our employees on a statewide pension plans -- we participate on the public safety level and for most of our employees on a statewide pension plans.
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the vast majority of the thousands of cities, towns in america rarely are financially insolvent and have a bright future. host: a color and are independent line. -- caller on our independent line. caller: good morning, mayors. my comment is relative to guns and finances. on legalizing marijuana to the degree the people can grow their on would remove the guns from the entire marijuana equation and would take the gangs away from the mayor won the equation. it would also make you guys so happy on what legalizing marijuana would do to your financial income of your municipalities for taxes. people who choose to buy the marijuana instead of credit.
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one of the biggest reasons the people are afraid of law enforcement or do not respect law-enforcement is because law enforcement is the ones that are busting people for smoking crack their gentle remedy -- smoking their gentle remedy. the people are very sick of the politicians in bed with the alcohol of pharmaceutical companies. that is why marijuana is illegal. the one people buying booze and pills -- they want people buying booze and pills. host: let me share with you what the vice president told you yesterday. [video clip] >> be able to stop gun violence -- we will not be able to stop gun
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violence or any other senseless violence in the future. that is not an excuse to do nothing. the president said, it is worth it if we can save even one life. i think we can save a whole lot more lives than that. we can begin an endeavor that stops that culture in american society. it is not all because of bounds. -- guns. it may be what happened in wtown is a call to action madri. host: your thoughts? guest: i am operating on a model that silence means consent.
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we both do not agree with the legalization of marijuana. i will say this. i will talk directly to this issue. i have learned that a good steward of taxpayer dollars -- taxpayers give you great latitude. over the last three years, we finished each year with a budget surplus. we have been upgraded by standard and poor's and moody's. we do have a separate issue that the other employment benefits, we have to appropriate for our employees and retirees, for the medical and dental benefits long
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term. we built our reserves to almost $50 million. you handle the money, people will give you a lot of latitude. over the guns, we have made post-newtown reality. people are aching for a productive dialogue. that is what we find a miss. -- amiss. at the conference of mayors, you have republicans and democrats. productive discussion seems to be sorely lacking. i am a gun owner. i support second amendment rights.
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i understand the importance is deeply ingrained in the culture of south carolina. i have not served warrants at my age is at once, to in the morning wondering what is on the other side of the door -- at my agent's at 1:00, 2:00 in the morning wondering what is on the other side of the door. host: yes or no questions on three of the principles this week. the idea of universal background checks for any gun purchaser. guest: i supported if it is done in the right way.
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my biggest concern is, we're dealing with a constitutional right here. i would be careful as to how those are undertaken. guest: it is in execution. host: banning these magazine clips that have more than 10 bullets. guest: this is a simplistic approach. i would like to have a larger discussion on how this fits in. you and your arguments both sides of the magazine clips. -- can hear arguments on both sides of the magazine clubs. i like to hear discussions about specific issues in a larger context. guest: i do know that usually, and having been a concealed weapons permit holder, usually the rules are followed by the good guys, and not the bad guys. we have to make sure we allow responsible gun owners to have
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some latitude. host: other than me nra leadership -- other than the nra leadership, who is against background checks when buying a gun? guest: grandstand people get below concerned. we're talking creek -- i and instead people do get concerned. -- i do understand that people get concerned. the gun owners in this country, you of millions of gun owners were law-abiding citizens -- who are law-abiding citizens. there is a cultural think. -- thing. they're concerned about one step the six with a certain amount of rights leads to another and another. -- that that takes away a
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certain amount of rights leads to another and another. host: the issue of mental health. how as a mayor do you deal with mental health issues? guest: we have seen state budgets cut left and right. because to our mental health agencies have been even deeper -- the cost or mental health agencies have been even deeper. -- cuts to your mental health agencies have been even deeper. it is real. it is significant. host: is there still a stigma in dealing with mental health patients? guest: i did not think it is a stigma. i think it has become so much more complex and tougher. we have some agencies in our city, the less recovery center,
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that has been able to really -- illness recovery center, that has been able to show given the time and resources and proper medical benefits, we take the folks who have wandered the streets for years, dealing with serious mental health issues, and turn them into productive citizens. it can be done. we have to find that value. -- fund that value. guest: when you look at newtown, these wereson, arizona, not normal people that decided to be relevant by picking up again. the focus has been on the gun. -- a gun. the focus has been on again. i hope mental-health rises to a level of significance where we
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talk about real funding for mental health. many times, the mental health officials and our town are police of scissors and firefighters -- in our town are police officers and firefighters. one of the results of that is we end up with these tragedies. host: what was the crime rate last year in mesa? guest: significant drop in violent crimes. guest: down 23% in colombia in violent crime. violent crime is down 23%. there is some hot spots we have been working on. we have rebuilt our police force, fully staffed for the first time in 15 years. we continue to invest in law enforcement.
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$4.5 million every year. host: why is it so high in chicago? guest: that brings up gun violence. we have a culture of violence in this country. most large cities, it is a huge problem. you have used on youth violence. -- youth-on-youth violence. mesa is a ibig city. we still do not experience the day-to-day kinds of things that they see in chicago. our cities have a problem with violence. it is mostly youth-on-youth violence. that does not seem to get headlines that newtown does. host: if you're just joining us are listening on c-span regular, welcome or radio audience. -- or listening on c-span radio,
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welcome to our radio audience. albert is joining us on the line for democrats. caller: good morning. you both are represented your cities very well. to their benjamin, it is not every mayor who will give a guy a ride to lunch when he is lost. i have learned a lot listening to you both. i have friends in arizona as well as living here in south carolina. you answered a lot of questions i thought it would ask. but one of the things i wonder about, because you're the mayor of a significant urban municipality, your sphere of
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influence is very significant. how does that significant split into the other demographs of teh state? -- the state? you have your islands, midland's, an lowland's. -- highlands, midlands, and lowlands. there are definitive cultural distinctions. even though it is a rural area, still significant gun crime. how does your voice speak to these other municipalities and influence them in adopting some cultural change that is spoke of earlier, gun violence as a cultural issue?
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guest: i take my role as mayor of the largest city in united states capital city very seriously. we have the benefit of not being a massive city. if i neif we do something, we dt right. we have the ability to affect things. we are the vibrant urban core. i see my role just by city, but a model. for as rural communities have faced significant challenges. we're just off of i-95 in
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orangeburg. have a between miami and new york. between miami and new york. trafficking and the gun trade is very real. we need to make sure we're doing everything we possibly can, continuing to invest in good, strong law-enforcement, continuing to have a thoughtful, strong innovation policy that focuses on our northern border and are container ports that can be as porous as the southern border. the rev. was new to town, just took a new job, i was leaving the post office. we just start of a conversation. he told me he was walking to a restaurant. it was on that street, a mile away. he did not know that.
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i put it in the car, -- him in the car, and we rode down to the restaurant. we had a great chance for conversation. i did not tell them who i was until it was about to get out of he was about to i was about t get out of the car. host: scott smith got his law degree from arizona state university. our conversation with mayor stephen benjamin, a graduate of university of south carolina and usc law school. our next call joining us from california. republican line. caller: good morning. really enjoyed your conversation so far. have not seen republicans and democrats sit together and get along as well.
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-- get along this wsell, ell, either. there is no private third-party transaction. if you do, you risked -- for five years. just -- california does have some strict laws. most people in the nation -- you can lie. many of them won't sell to the state because the regulations are so onerous besides the price you can be walking into a
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gun store, which is typically an incentive. you can often find what you want used. host: how would you view congress? guest: there is no doubt there is different political philosophies. i did not agree with all my councilmen on everything. you start talking about a problem and focus on the problem -- >> all of this in our video library at c-span.org. we will go back to the mayors' conference. john pistole, head the transportation security administration, live coverage
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here on c-span. >> we are on a fairly tight schedule. if you'll give me your name and city and we will go in quickly. >> from davenport, iowa. >> connecticut. >> from university city, missouri. >> hempstead, new york. >> california. >> miami, florida. >> lancaster, pennsylvania. >> mayor of harrisburg, pennsylvania. >> delaware. >> california.
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>> arlington heights, illinois. >> minnesota. >> south carolina. >> roanoke, virginia. >> seattle, washington. >> we have a co-chaired that is here. thank you for being here. it is an honor to introduce the first speaker, john pistole. he has served in that position when he came to tsa as a veteran of the fbi with extensive counterterrorism experience. he was put in charge of the really expanded counter terrorism program and became the fbi's executive director for
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counterintelligence. he was named deputy director for the fbi. it is our honor to have you here this morning and we look forward to your comments. please. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to be here today to share a few things with you in terms of what tsa does and how that impacts you as mayors of cities. we have a large work force and worked into 450 airports. some of your constituents may be tsa employees. there's a couple things i would like to touch on and see if we have time for questions and comments. one is the reason we do our work.
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tsa was created after 9/11. we have been pushing the boundaries to force those who try to causes harm to look at foldable points in the global aviation system. there every attack, it has been from overseas. there are 270 or sell airports that have nonstop service to the u.s. we want to make sure the policies and protocols are at least at the point where it meets international standards. we work through the u.n. to raise those standards to a point where we can have some confidence that the security being provided to the u.s. are similar to ours.
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we believe we have the best security in the world. that is why terrorists have looked elsewhere. to demonstrate the dedication of the terrorists, particularly al qaeda, and the length they will go to to try to block a u.s.- bound airliner. we go back to the young nigerian man who was given a bomb that and neverumetal in it set off alarm. that is the reason we have the advanced imaging technique in the u.s., the body scanners. they let us pick up metallic objects. let's have them as a deterrent
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to force the terrorists to come up with new and innovative ideas. some technical issues with that device. the young men flew from amsterdam to detroit. fast- forward to two years ago in october of 2010. there were two packages sent from yemen to chicago. because some outstanding cooperation by foreign security service. we were given the tracking numbers for those packages. one was sent on its ups and both had computer printers that had toner cartridges that were actually bombs. we got the tracking numbers. they went and found those
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packages and opened them up. this was good intelligence. on the second instance, they found it on -- it took them three times to find it. there is a master bond maker in yemen that was training others. made those devices and used a similar device to use his younger brother as a suicide bomber at to kill a saudi official. april of last year there is another updated attempts on a u.s. passenger airliner was the intended goal. this device was given to a terrorist to get on a u.s.-bound aircraft and blow the plane up.
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this terrorist was a double agent for another foreign security terrorists. that individual was able to extricate himself and the device out of yemen. the device was brought back here. we analyzed the device. this was a new improved underwear device. it was not even that wide. a little bit longer than that and easily conceivable -- concealable. that is the challenge we're dealing with. a terrorist group that is innovative in their concealment of devices. that is why tsa provides security at our airports. how can we use that information
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in an intelligence-based way. how we have changed our one- size-fits-all approach after 9/11, aware of all of the threats that are out there. the notion that we cannot expect to provide a 100% guaranteed. we screen over two million carry-on bags. 6 million people every year that we screen. try to manage risk just as you do in your job as mayors. a recognition in how we can work in partnership with the traveling partnership. if you're willing to share information, we can do a pre-
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screen before you get to there. we do this in 35 airports around the country now. if you are a known and trusted traveler, you go to a dedicated lane and keep your shoes and belts on and your laptop in your carry-on bag. we can spend more time on those we know the least about an expedite those that are known and trusted. you would consider yourself to be known and trusted. we would like to work with you in including mayors in terms of the known and trusted population. we have a table where we are working with people to sign up. signing up for global entry
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which allows expedited re-entry to the country. it also qualifies you for tsa pre-checks. for those who knows somebody 75 or older and 12 or under, they can keep their shoes on. we have about 100,000 passengers each day. we treated them -- recognizing there is no guarantee. there have always been exceptions to the rules. and unpredictable will always be part of the process. 170,000 a week go through a different way of screening instead of jamming up the
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passenger lines. 16 agencies with top-secret clearances. we know and what about them. -- we know a lot about them. that is part of what this is. the idea is how do we expand the known and trusted population? we are working with you in identifying groups of people that may fit those groups of people. we're looking at some other opportunities. nicola global entry ligh -- global entry light. global entry is $20 a year but you have to have a passport.
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those are some of the things we're working on that wanted to make you aware. more precise in our cargo screening and passenger screening. for mayors of cities of size that have airports that are engines for your local or regional communities, you know how important it is to have good safety and security. we want to provide for the best possible security. thank you for your time this morning and i look forward to any questions. [applause] >> we do appreciate your being here. we have three airports in houston. we depend on international traffic. what are we doing to make sure
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that international visits people can get then but also to protect safety on the international side? >> there are a number of initiatives, trying to be more welcoming for business and tourism. those are things that are taking part in different parts of the government. we have taken a first step with our friends to the north. canada has a program called nexus. we have accepted them as part -- we tried to recognize the known and trusted population of mexico.
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u.s. citizens traveling internationally. echeck is just a domestic program. >> we have time for a few questions. mayors? you need you mic on. anyone/ ? >> thank you. >> now we will have a brief report from the seattle mayor who has been spearheading our efforts related to human trafficking. certain publications such as back page.com to implement in person age verification and in the exploitation of children
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through their services. mayor? >> thank you for inviting me. this is the national human slavery and traffic and prevention month. our city council has passed a resolution and what urge you to do the same. the conference passed a resolution calling on backpage.com to end the sexual exploitation of minors. i want to describe the problem briefly. we know from our police department and human services providers when we took a lock at the seattle region, there were some between 300 or 500 underage young women that were being sold for sex online in the area.
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that was kind of shocking to us. it's not as well-known a problem as it should be. i don't think this was a seattle problem. the honorable young women -- vulnerable young women are preyed upon by pimps. it is a very abusive relationship, similar to the situation of domestic violence in a way. these young women are controlled. we're change our practices in seattle where we changed our vi ce unit. the point was to view these victims as victims of crime.
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we work -- we have a program to give that a place to stay and try to take them out of this life. it is challenging. the pimp will work to bring this person back if they can. what we know is that the internet has changed how this works. it is advertise online. backpage.com is one of the chief places where captains. we have recovered over 25 young women that were advertised for sale. look up your city on back page.com. escorts are being advertised in your city. you do not know if they are under or over 18.
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but neither does backpage. we require them to have in person age verification with identification and they refused. we brought pressure on them. backpage.com is a wholly owned subsidiary which owns print publications in in number of cities. as a result of that pressure, they divested themselves of backpage.com. that was a success story. there is bad news as well. there was legislation saying -- to advertise to children for sale on the internet would be criminal, if you facilitated that.
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that would be an affirmative defense for companies like backpage. backpage went to the courts. there are provisions to prevent internet companies from being held liable for the actions of others. they said we were pre-empted from the field and their freedom of speech rights prevailed. knowing disregard for the effects of their practices to enable this. this is the challenge that we face. we will try to go back and work on this. backpage.com makes millions on this. they refuse to institute practices to stop it.
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others do not have the same problem. we'll have a conference of mayors up and down the i-5 corridor. these young women are brought from town to town. one phone number was tracked that was being advertised. it was in the big cities like san francisco, seattle, portland. but also in little cities and this person is transported from place to place. the capacity for our police department is challenging. we are working on better solutions so our police department can share information and interdict this. is there a young woman that we should be seeking to recover?
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we will try to bring more pressure on the men who do this. we need more tools to attempt to combat this. the tsa also plays a role in this. i want to thank you for the work that is done in olivetti this issue. -- to elevate this issue. it is hard to believe it is as bad as it is. it is happening in your community, too. we need to come together to change the climate where men feel they can go online and buy this. we need better tools to combat this. maybe we should look at our own loss about what is appropriate regulations.
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thank you for your work. [applause] >> anyone have any questions for the mayor? he is targeting a particular aspect of the traffic of underage women for sexual purposes. many of us have problems in our cities with human trafficking. houston is a major transport point for a human trafficking. i have a task force that deals with domestic and international trade in human beings. we tend to think about it as the sex trade. t a growing problem in the united states -- it is a growing problem in the united states.
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there is a sex worker or nanny confined to a household or the worker at your favorite male salon -- nail salon and whether they're able to travel freely in cities. this is something we're beginning to look at. i've been joined by one of my -- dess -- i'm sorry moines, iowa. glad to have you here. we're expecting the attorney general charlie. they have-- the attorney general. if there is no other question -- yes, ma'am? >> i had a chance to meet with
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the mayor of seattle. [indiscernible] >> a person can make $400,000 a year with just two or three girls. we try to talk about a campaign to talk with the johns. this is a crime with underage girls. i wonder if you have been looking at improving the crimes against those trafficking with the girls but also a campaign of shaming people. we have closed motels down but neighbors are taking down license plate numbers and we're
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sending letters to owners of these cars. we call them dear john letters. >> that sounds like a good idea. i don't know if you have something you want to add to that. we're trying to draw distinctions. it is and old profession. we're not discussing that within the conference of mayors. we are focusing on the human trafficking aspect, primarily with underage girls. anybody forced into one of these positions. our next speaker is here. americans have been stunned by senseless acts of violence involving guns, from columbine
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where 13 were killed, virginia tech, 32 murdered, fort hood, 13 murdered, tucson, six murdered. including a congress person who was wounded. auroroa, oak creek, then the december 14 tragedy that killed 20 young children and six educators in newtown. that is still incomprehensible to most of us. mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting. we must cope with gun violence in our own city. equipment: for sensible gun laws forrotect the prublic more than 40 years.
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in an open letter to the president and congress sent three days after the newtown tragedy, the conference of mayors sent a statement urging immediate action. more than 200 mayors have signed on to the letter. we're calling on the president to exercise his powers to introduce and pass legislation to make a reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. we called on congress to enact legislation to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons and to strengthen the background assistance and eliminate loopholes and to strengthen the penalties for purchases of guns. preventing gun violence whether it mass shooting in a school or a murder on a street corner will
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take much more than strengthening our gun laws. it is a culture of gun violence in our nation. a violent act should not be the first response to saddling or, setting for a wrong. what can we be done about that? identify people and get them help they need. we need to make sure we link the work we need to do in preventing gun violence with access to appropriate mental health. the president heeded our call or agreed with us.
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i welcome now the attorney general of the united states. i assume he will address that and many other issues. attorney-general holder served as deputy attorney general during the clinton administration. we appreciate the leadership which mr. holder has brought to the apartment. commitment.renewed . you have sharpen the national focus on violence prevention, and helped many of our citizens to combat violence. you are an important member of
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the vice-president's working group, and it is an honor to have you here at the u.s. conference of mayors. [applause] >> thank you. good morning. i guess good afternoon. one of the two. thank you, mayor, for those kind words, and it is a pleasure to be here today and a privilege to be included once again in this annual four. i would also like to thank mayor michael nutter for all you have done to make these nmeetings a success. i would like to criminal-justice committee to take part in this important session. for more than a decade, this organization has brought together dozens of our nation's brightest public service to share ideas, to discuss
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concerns, and formulate a policy solutions that our cities, communities, and our citizens deserve. over the years i have had the chance to work with many of you to address some of the most complex public safety challenges that we all face. it is an honor to join with vice president biden, administrator mine voice, and adding to this critical dialogue. i thank you for your service, leadership, a partnership with one another, with key federal, state, and local, tribal leaders, and especially with the united bejesus. every day america's mayor's stand on the front lines of our fight against terrorism, crime, and threats to the most vulnerable. your engagement is in central in protecting citizens from harm,
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guarding against civil-rights violations, and combating guns, gangs, and drug violence that steals to many promising futures. you understand exactly what it is that we're up against. not only because you hear the alarming statistics and read the news stories, but because you see it firsthand on a daily basis. you recognize as i do that no public safety challenge can be understood in isolation and that none of us can make the progress we need and secure the results that our communities deserve on our own. it is true when it comes to gun violence, an issue that has touched every city and every town represented here, and about which many of you have long been a passionate advocates. on a number of occasions the leaders in this room have joined with those at justice to support
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law enforcement and to strengthen anti-violence initiatives. especially in recent weeks as our nation has come together in the wake of last month's horrific events in newtown. have heard from citizens and colleagues and brought a consensus to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children, and many of you are helping to lead efforts to honor the lessons of sandy hook elementary school and the realization that unacceptable levels of gun violence plague our cities and towns every day. this unspeakable tragedy, but also the individual tragedies that take place on your street all too often an all too often unnoticed, stand as stark reminders of our shared responsibility to address not just the epidemic of gun-related crimes and the ongoing need for vigorous enforcement of lawws, but also the conditions that
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give rise to violence. the overwhelming majority of gun owners have been responsible, law-abiding citizens, yet we have repeatedly seen in the most tragic waste how easy it can be for a dangerous people to acquire and wreak havoc with deadly weapons. although there is no single solution that can bring a decisive end to this violence, it is incumbent upon us to try, and it is time to consider what common steps we can take together to save lives. this means do everything we can to secure the tools and resources that we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who are not and should not be allowed to possess them. it means taking actions to ensure that while our second- amendment rights are upheld, we have the means to prosecute effectively those who would use firearms to commit acts of violence, and it means --
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many of you participated in yesterday's session with a vice president in which he discussed the administration's efforts to combat done pilots and co ncrete recommendations the president adopted earlier this week. i have joined the vice-president and other groups, policy makers and other private citizens to help formulate this plan, from law enforcement leaders, to firearms owners and enthusiasts, technology experts and gun- safety advocates, from retailers to mental health professionals, members of the clergy victims of gun violence, and members of the entertainment industry. the positions we had were frank, wide-ranging, and includes a, and a consensus is clear. if there is even one thing that
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we can do to reduce this pilot, if there is even one life can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. this publication is what drove the administration to propose a range of legislative remedies, along with 23 executive actions to end mass shootings and prevent gun violence. on wednesday the president signed directives putting a number of these proposals into action. others will require legislation that will soon be introduced in congress, and which we hope will receive timely consideration. at every level of the administration, particularly within justice, i colleagues and i will continue to do everything in our power to maximize and keep our people safe in cities, the guards, and school secure. where not going to be able to do this alone. the fact is our ability to tackle this challenge will depend on the willingness of
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americans and thousands of dedicated public servants like you to engage with one another to make a positive difference. we can begin by calling for immediate congressional action. as the president indicated, congress should move swiftly to adopt legislation to require universal background checks so that a full background check is conducted every time someone attempts to buy a gun. by taking this relatively simple step, we can significantly strengthen our ability to keep criminals and other dangerous individuals from getting access to deadly weapons. we can do so by starting today, by encouraging sellers run their transactions to a system with the help of a licensed gun dealer. many licensed dealers drop country already facilitate fire arms transfers between private individuals on a regular basis. we are encouraging more private
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sellers to work with licensed dealers to ensure all sales are subject to a comprehensive background check. this can be done. the effectiveness of the checks depends on the integrity of the national background check system as a whole. to date, this system has proven remarkably effective, and enabling dealers to make 90% of background check determinations on the spot and roughly 95% within 3 business days. as help us keep 1.5 million tons from falling into the wrong hands over the last 14 years. we can and we must do even better by insuring that the information included in the system is complete, tearing down barriers that prevent federal agencies and states from sharing relevant records, and making shorten our laws and regulations are as effective as possible when it comes to identifying those who should not have
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access to firearms. this week president obama took executive action in support of these goals, addressing gaps in our national background check system bringing accountability to the sources of information that it relies upon, and ensuring that federal law enforcement agencies become more uniform in tracing guns recovered during investigations. at the same time, he put an end to the virtual freeze on rigorous, nonpartisan research into gun pilots by the centers for disease control. as directed, the cdc will apply with strategies for prevention. he has taken a variety of steps to help justice provide law enforcement with resources and to respond with active shooter situations. in addition, at the president must direction, the administration will issue guidelines making clear under
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existing law doctors are in no way prohibited from reporting threats of pilots to law enforcement. we will work with individual communities and school districts to develop plans to make our schools safer. relevant authorities will finalize regulations within the affordable care act to increase access to mental health services for all who need them. let me be very clear. not one of these is it orders, contrary to what if you have said, interest is upon anyone's second amendment rights or is without the historical use of a state of power. in addition to these actions and proposals, the administration has called upon congress to renew a decision banning high- capacity magazines, including those used in recent high- profile mass shootings, to protect our police, by getting rid of armor-piercing bullets, to pass a new assault weapons
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ban, updated and stronger than the one enacted in 1994, to keep the military-style weapons off of our streets, and to consider a series of new federal loss in laws.ng -- im these measures represent an essential part of any serious copperheads of effort to eradicate gun violence, and today i joined president obama, a vice president obama, mcalester americans to -- vice president biden, and countless americans to encourage congress to take action. this is a critical justice department component that has been without a senate confirmed leader for six years. and to eliminate misguided restrictions that require the atf to allow the importation of dangerous weapons because of
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their age. some have said that these changes will require tough vote, by members of congress. as you all know, public service is never easy, and there come times when those of us who are elected or appointed to positions must put the interests of those who we serve, we are privileged to serve, above that which might be politically expedient or professionally safe. this is one of those times. by acting within the existing authorities to improve our enforcement capacity for law that is already on the books, by enacting common-sense legislation to strip some in our ability to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands, and to stem the proliferation of military-style weapons and high- capacity magazines, i'm confident we can and that we will makes it a good strides in reducing violence that too often fills our headlights and affects our committees.
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this administration is determined to take our gun violence prevention to a new level, and we're eager to work with leaders like you in advance in the conversation about how we can put an end to these crimes and secure a brighter future for all those who we are privileged to serve. to this end, in addition to implementing orders and advocating for the legislative actions that the president announced on wednesday, my colleagues and i remain committed to standing with america's mayors in strengthening anti-violence initiatives that are already underway. since 2000 and, this commitment has led the justice to permit the more than $3.5 billion in state and local partners through a program that helps keep officers on the beat and equips them with the latest tools and technologies. over a similar period of time, the department bus community- oriented service program awarded more than $1.5 billion to create
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or protect 8000 jobs in law enforcement. we are seeking $4 billion more in our next budget. our officers say the working group has also been forging stronger relationships with officers and law enforcement or disease is across the country in building a platform for researching the threats they face on a daily basis. under a training and technical assistance program called fowler, we are enabling officers to anticipate to prevent and to survive violent encounters. with the dishes like the bulletproof program it will help provide law enforcement with equipment that is quite simply saving lives, and based on recommendations of our defending chocolate task force, we're bringing a variety of partners together, expending -- expanding -- and research.
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there is no question we can be proud of these efforts to reduce violence and victimization, but as you have discussed this week, and as the president has made clear, we cannot yet be satisfied and it is not a time for us to become complacent. when it comes to combating drug pilots, in turn the safety of our citizens and first responders to each of the leaders on this room has the power and responsibility to make difference.ou despite the disagreements, we have the central roles to play in driving the critical debate that is unfolding across our nation bit everyone of us has been given a chance to strengthen this nation and help determine its future. as we conclude today's session, and begin planning for the 82nd,
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i urge you to seize this moment. i ask you keep up the conversations begun this week and pledged continue working together in pursuit of the goals that we all share. i think you as colleagues, as partners, and as indispensable leaders for your contributions, service, and dedication to protecting and improving the lives of those a ride you. thank you all very much. [applause] >> i had several mayors who asked me prior to the attorney general to take questions, and unfortunately, he did not, and is on a tight schedule, but i mentioned there is an official
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letter from the u.s. conference of mayors on the issue of gun violence and safety, and well more than 200 mayors have signed it. i do not know what the current account is. if you're not one of the mayors who has signed on to that statement, you have the opportunity to be so today, and we would be happy to have you as part of that -- i am the mayor of houston. texas is a gun-owning state. personally, i am a gun owner, and believe in the right to bear arms, but i have probably said to my fellow mayors there are common-sense regulations that we could put in place that will make us safer. i note that some of the majors in the room today -- mayors in
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the room today, have thoughts, particularly those in parts of the country that are supportive of personal ownership of weapons, to step up and to make our voices heard. did you wish to address that issue? if you would stick your name first, please. just the little button there. ok, you've got a lucky microphone. go ahead. >> we had a conference call on wednesday one day last week, and i spoke with [indiscernible] my observation to general holder was that we could somehow take
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the washington focus off of it and put the solution and resources down to our citizens county street quite frankly, no one mentioned this -- [indiscernible] we are in a better position [indiscernible] that these plants can be implemented without the great fear of a washington force coming in and taking their guns. it would also allow the administration to come up with a package in which a forgiven [indiscernible] does not wish to have, if there are 10 items coming out of washington and my [indiscernible]
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then they can go and say i will vote for it because i am not taking all of it. if we could push it countable local level i think we could be much more effective in getting a package passed. the fear of taking guns away is largely a fear of the national government taking guns away. they can vote me at a office quickly. if we could get empowered i think it would be helpful, and that is what i have been urging the administration to do. >> it is a fear of washington more than a fear of their local public officials. do you want to take my chair and use the mike over here, and if there are any others who want to weigh in? >> thank you. i took the liberty to to talk to my police chiefs and asked him to assess this, and he has been
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a police chief in a prior committee. something that i heard the attorney general mentioned, which now extends one of the questions my chief asked, was that he would anticipate that major professional law enforcement organizations would support the report in the regulation, but that it is never mentioned. it has been silent of where the position of the justice department and the bureau of atf. and they have not met for six years? >> they have been working. >> they need something to keep them together, but this is by the comment about do we have to wait for washington to do something -- it seems like it takes way too long. he focused on the three areas that i heard consistently now for the last week, the background checks.
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they have to be done no matter who you are. it should be done. that would be one way to make certain no one is flipping through. the assault weapons and high- capacity magazines are something that -- what do you need for those? even hunters would agree that those are not necessary. and then why can we actually enforce the gun laws we now have put it seems like so many places in our country, they are ignored or forgotten. depending on the climate of your citizenry, we need to push and work together because we cannot watch our children being mowed down. this is probably the most horrible thing that i have ever, ever heard.
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all of these catastrophic events like the movie theater, and to walk into a school and sheet first- and second-graders, it is incomprehensible, and has to have a reaction, and u.s. conference of mayors is placed to push it, and we need each and every one of you to let your congress members know that something has to be done or they aren't to be considered do- nothings. assisted big to be pushed around and debated for weeks and months and then do nothing or do half-baked. addressed it. >> thank you. is there anyone else who wishes -- [applause] i see someone over here. did you have anything to weigh in on this thing as well?
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>> the only thing i would add to the discussions, and i have had discussions with our chief of police and we have all gone over a lot issues that we are concerned about. when we talk about assault weapons, having been in the military myself, i am not as concerned, although i know a lot of people are, without a weapon looks. i am most concerned about how it operates. when i pull the trigger, is the one bullet coming out, three bullets coming out, are there a whole lot of bullets coming out? to me, that is what makes the difference between a military- style weapon. and less concerned about whether it has a hand grip on it or this or that. i want to know if i'm looking, at a weapon is throwing a lot of bullets out and become a totally different piece of equipment. >>, i know my own police chiefs
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are interested in things like armor-piercing bullets and want to out all those. >> i think it is admirable that the mayors signed letters to push out congressional leaders in the forefront. i do not know how many cities have ordinances' or have tried to push ordinances that would address high-capacity magazines, that would address background checks. what would help our leaders and our president move forward, if mayors, as i do with my own city attorney, drafting a local ordinance that would make those kinds of things illegal in my own city. more and more mayors, if they pass local ordinances, that would send a message strongly to congressional leaders and they would know they have the support, on the local level. i am asking the question of how many mayors in cities have ordinances that address those
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kinds of issues. >> i cannot speak for -- >> california. >> [indiscernible] which preempt local governments. this is why we have got to support the administration in setting the efficient and the tone and making the resources available, which will then -- if we had the the resources, we would not have to pass -- if i have the resources to enforce the laws and build the jail space is necessary to get the folks off the street, i would not need any more laws passed. it is resources. schools -- this ce there are very few people opposed to more cops on the
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street. this is why i put people come up on an approach -- if you do not want what the feds are offering, that is your business. if we get the resources, even with the laws the way they are, we can make a big dent in this. and get around this state pre- emptive laws. >> i do not know if there are other measures that have the ability to do what you are doing. >> have restrictions on ourselves, but there are a lot that are not keeping our hands. we have our gun shops in town, but we have ongoing private sales between individual citizens, and we have no way of looking at that. what we're proposing is if a private sale is made, that individual past report it to the department of public safety or the police department, and when
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that sale is made, the buyer has to register that the gun. those are things that we can look at and to that are not restricted by state ordinance or federal law that we cannot touch. trying to ban assault weapons, that could go all the way up to supreme court. dealing with high-capacity magazines, dealing with making private owners register with the police departments if they sold the gun, and then put a burden on them and we're looking at this language that if the private sale is not reported and that gun is used in the petition at a crime, that person could be held liable. there is a lot of things we could do to strengthen and making it tougher for these things to happen. we cannot rely on congress, and i give my blessings of the president to see we can get these things through.
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we're relying on federal laws, and i think local mayors me to start passing ordinances that they will pass that will restrict these things like- capacity magazines. i worry about but my daughter is a police officer. i asked her, what is the amount of rounds you carry as a police officer? it is 15 rounds. taking 15 rounds against an automatic weapon is like taking a knife to a gunfight. it does not work. we have to level the playing field. why not pass local ordinances? i think mayors can do that on a local level. that is my 2 cents. >> we're running close to the end of our time today. anybody else who needs to we i ight? -- to weigh in? >> i think it would be
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unfortunate if there was the impression in the country that local officials are not doing something they can do and as the federal government to do, because in south carolina the could not do that. the states in the country have some level of pre-emption, said in our state, the ability to regulate that is a state function. we are our only option. i think this is a national matter that requires a uniform approach. >> [indiscernible] >> your name? >> i agree. we may not be able to have the enforcement power, but we will be showing our congress people
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that we stand behind them, and in our community, [indiscernible] he is in favor of what we are proposing. one of our young men who grew up in our town was one of the police officers who was shot. [indiscernible] that was the only thing. we have to protect our children absolutely, and that is the most tragic -- we have to protect our police officers as well. >> one of the things we can think about in those states where we do not have the ability to preempt state law on some of these issues is that our police departments are major purchasers of weapons and ammunition. and when gun manufacturers,
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ammunition manufacturers, weigh in on this issue, i think as major customers, we have the opportunity to engage with them, and one of the things that i am going to go do when i go home is sit down with my police chief and by purchasing department and we will figure out what our spending is annually on gun the emanation. as mayors, if we put our dollars out there, we too are of a voice that the industry should be engaging with and listening to. i thank you for your time and attention today, and thanks for being a part of this meeting. if you have issues he would like to see the criminal social justice committee address, please shoot me an e-mail. topped one might co-chairs trip before we leave, arlene, you have been doing this for 20 years? you're about to be leading us? we want to thank you for your service. [applause]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> the mayors are wrapping up their meeting. c-span cameras are all over the city, today looking at the lincoln memorial. live here on c-span.
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the lincoln memorial in washington. up the steps, kids from the fifth grade from watkins elementary school in washington will read the entire speech from
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martin luther king jr.'s "i have a dream"speech . we are streaming all of our coverage today. president obama begins his second term. sunday is the official swearing- in ceremony at the white house, and our coverage will include your phone calls, and we look back at the president's 2009 inaugural address at 10:30 eastern. on monday, the public inaugural ceremonies at the capitol. we will have live all-day coverage monday beginning at 7:00 and the eastern, c-span, c- span radio, and c-span.org. coming up, a discussion on the
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safety of the u.s.-mexican border and how immigration is being affected. we will hear from remarks from a homeland assistant secretary in new mexico. that is coming up at 4:15 eastern on c-span. tonight, we will show you inaugural speeches from the last 60 years, starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern with president ronald reagan's 1981 address, bill clinton in 1993, dwight eisenhower in 1957, harry truman, 1949, 1969, richard nixon, john f. kennedy in 1961. george h.w. bush in 1989, lyndon johnson from 1965, president jimmy carter in 1977, and we will wrap up the night at 11:00 eastern with president george w. bush speech from 19 -- from 2001.
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>> i barack hussein obama do solemnly swear that i will execute the office of president of the an ad states faithfully -- >> when chief justice john roberts administered the oath to barack obama on january 20, 2009, there was a major problem. roberts was supposed to say "that i will faithfully execute the office of president of united states. then barack obama stops, paused, smiled, as if to say, "c'mon, man, this is my big day, you got to get this right." unfortunately, he did not get it right, so the very next night in
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the white house, they did it again. this time roberts used notes which he had not used the first time, and they got it right. >> the history of democracy's big day, monday at 8:00 a.m. part of a three-day holiday "book tv."c-span's >> the house in for a brief protest for a session this afternoon. party leaders have been sounding out rank and file members during a retreat on the idea of approving a three-month debt ceiling hike to buy time for negotiations of government funding. we'll keep you posted on update on that. next up on c-span, tavis smiley
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holding his annual for focusing on a party in america and possible policy solutions. we will hear from several panelists including cornell west, marcia fudge, and former house speaker newt gingrich. this is 2 1/2 hours. [applause] >> good evening. in the nation's capital on the campus of george washington university. we have been here now three years always trying to bring the nation to come to terms -- help the nation come to terms with an issue of national importance. for the last few years, we have been talking ad nauseum about the issue of poverty and how it
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is we get serious about making poverty a priority in this country. we will mix this up tonight. it seems to me that teetering on cliffs and bumping up against ceilings is not a good economic policy for a nation. we are going to talk tonight about what each and every one of us can do as americans, what agency we have to push our leaders to make the reduction and eradication of poverty a priority in this nation, and there is something specific that we want your help tonight to do to help push president obama as we sit here tonight on the campus of gw. the president will be inaugurated for a second term in just a few days, on a holiday honoring the person i regard as the greatest american this country has ever produced -- that is my own assessment -- martin luther king, jr. [applause] so the president will clearly be in the foreground, but dr. king looms large as the backdrop.
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now, word comes from the white house that they will use his bible for this historic and iconic celebration, so we will talk tonight about how we honor the legacy of dr. king by focusing more attention on the issue that he gave his life for -- the poor. king once said we have to civilize ourselves by the immediate abolition of poverty. obviously, we are not quite there yet, but we of tonight's conversation will aid us and of that as in trying to make sure that we look out for the least among us. i am pleased tonight to be joined by an all-star panel. i want to introduce them one by one and jumped right into the conversation. i want to start by thanking c- span for carrying this program live around the world tonight. [applause] thank you, c-span. as the conversation gets under way, we will tell you more about what you can do at home or wherever you might be
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watching tonight to join in the conversation, but for now, let me introduce the novice panel of persons who are going to mix it up tonight on this issue of poverty. i am pleased to be joined by the author of "fire in the ashes: 25 years among the poorest children in america." no one has written more about the link between education and poverty then my friend jonathan cole. she is the director of the center for hundred-free communities, and the associate prof. at augusta university's school of health. please welcome marian chilton. he has taught at harvard and princeton and is now teaching as professor of philosophy and christian practice at union theological seminary. i am honored to be co-host of a radio program with him.
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please welcome dr. cornel west. [applause] to my right, just off a plane literally a couple of hours ago from ethiopia, doing his work on poverty and as special adviser to the united nations, but when he is here in the states, as i'm glad he is tonight, he is director of the earth institute and professor of health policy and management at columbia, please welcome our friend jeffrey sachs. [applause] to my left, he was gracious to accept my invitation to be here tonight. if we're going to do something tonight about poverty in america, we have to mix it up. we will talk later in this program about what we want you to help us help the president to do. it will require both parties in this town come together, i am pleased to have tonight former speaker of the house and candidate for the white house
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himself, newt gingrich. she is executive director of the national nurses united and california nurses association, the national nurses organizing committee, and they are pushing an issue in this country that is starting to gain more and more steam called the robin hood tax. you are going to learn about it tonight. please welcome roseanne demoro. he is now the dean of university of indiana school of public affairs out with a new book just now, the first i know of that gives suggestions and ideas -- specific public policy ideas he believed both the left and right can agree on. please welcome my friend john gramm. and she has a new assignment, just elected the congressional chair of the black caucus out of ohio.
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please welcome congresswoman marcia fudge. [applause] jeffrey, i want to start with you, in part because you have come the farthest, i guess you get to go first. i will keep you awake. i want to start, though -- i'm not the one that likes to use a bunch of statistics because they can be hard to follow. because this program right now is being seen live across the nation, i want to make sure that those watching can get a chance to contextualize what happened with the issue of poverty across the nation. these are issues that come from 1989. here's what we know since 1989. i want to start in washington, the nation's capital, because this is where the last time we took poverty seriously -- to my mind -- the war on poverty, and we will debate that tonight, i'm sure, but the last time we took it seriously during the johnson
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years. that program started in washington. give me two minutes to give you some sense and this audience some sense of what has happened to poverty since 1989. talking specifically about income inequality -- the top 5% of washington, d.c., household -- in the nation's capital in the origination of the world -- richest nation in the world -- the top 5% of households made more than $500,000 on average last year. top 5%. $500,000 on average last year. the bottom 20% made less than $9,500 last year. i'm no economist, but that is a ratio of 54 to one. the district of columbia, the nation's capital, is the worst of all the 50 states in the union. that is what income inequality
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looks like in the nation's capital. income inequality has increased in 49 of 50 states since 1989. the poverty rate increase in 43 states. most sharply in nevada. ravage of course by the housing bust, and in my home state of indiana, which sought a rise in low-paying jobs. in all 50 states, the richest 20% of households made far greater income gains than any other quintile, up 12% nationally. income for the median household fell with michigan and connecticut leading the way. the five largest increases in inequality -- get this -- the five largest increases in inequality in this country since 1989, all in new england. connecticut, massachusetts, new hampshire, rhode island, and vermont. a decline in manufacturing jobs, and in case you are wondering, hit new england's poor and middle pretty hard,
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while the highly educated benefited from the expansion of biotech, and you will not be surprised by this, finance. the only state that did not see the rise in inequality was the state i was born in. i grew up in indiana, but i was born in mississippi. the only state that did not see a rise in inequality, but get this -- it had an insignificant dip. the magnolia state was one of the few to post a small drop in poverty and a rise in income, but it still ranks as the worst in the nation on both counts. i want to give you some sense of what is happening with income inequality in this country since the year 1989. having said that, i want to start with you and just ask a question that is important as we sit here tonight on the eve of the inauguration on monday,
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on -- just days ahead of debt ceiling conversations, days after fiscal cliff negotiations. was that deal good for poor people? >> for 30 years, we have not addressed this issue, except for the wonderful work that you and cornel are doing in these wonderful people on the panel. politics has neglected the poor. one could say that there was a war on the poor rather than a war on poverty for much of this period. the united states has by far the most poverty of any of the high-income countries as a share of the population. we have the highest in quality. we have the most entrenched underclass. we have had the biggest increases of any quality by far, and we've had the least
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political response of any high- income countries, so we are standing out on our own. this has been a 30-year trend of soaring in comes at the top, stagnation in the middle, and falling through the floor on the bottom, and the political system has refused to address this for 30 years. so we have reached a calamitous situation in this country, but the fact of the matter is nothing that was done at the fiscal cliff and what lies ahead most likely will not in any deeper way address this crisis. >> how frightened, then, are you about poor people being stuck, i guess, between a rock and a hard place? how concerned are you about what is going to happen? we all know -- this is the big elephant in the room, these entitlement cuts. i sense and we all sense they will be on the table.
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we do not know what the president really is going to do. we know that we will not know until march how good this deal is until we get to those cuts, but how frightened are you? >> i think there is nothing we could predict that will make a decisive change in the issues we will be talking about right now because we have been squeezing government -- the so- called discretionary part of our budget. that is, the park for education, job training, labor markets, also for infrastructure, for the environment, climate change, for other issues -- that part of our budget is just continuing to shrink, and i think we will, unfortunately, look back after whatever deal is done in february, march, and so forth and see a near-disappearance of this part of our government. we are abdicating the most fundamental responsibility to take care of the people who are most in need and also to take care of our own future. i would say it goes beyond the question of poverty and goes to the question of a broken
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infrastructure, which we absolutely refused to address. when i come back from a trip abroad, i'm coming back to a rickety infrastructure in this country where you look at our airports and roads. the highways you travel are 50 years old because we are not reinvesting in this country right now. our problem is that we are not taking seriously any of our problems. of course, the poor are the most urgent. they are the ones clinging to hang on. when we had a disaster like hurricane sandy that hit the whole east coast -- people have been warning for years with the rising sea levels, the more intense storms, the climate change that we have to get our infrastructure right. we thought we found that out from hurricane katrina. of course, we did nothing because our government is not responding to any of the major challenges we have in this country. the idea, starting around 1981,
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was to starve the beast, so- called, to just get the size of the government down. one of the problems we have is an underclass that cannot find its way out and no longer has any kind of helping hand. >> i think jeffrey sachs just shanked you. and being funny. i thought i heard him say that one of the mistakes we made was back in the 1980's when you were around and running things. one of the mistakes was making our priority all about shrinking government. >> jeffrey sachs and i have a fundamental disagreement, and i suspect most of this panel will have a fundamental disagreement about a couple of facts. it is a fact that this coming march is the 49th anniversary of lyndon johnson declaring war on poverty. it is a fact we have spent over $16 trillion in those 49 years,
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and it has failed. i like your hashtag -- poverty must end. i agree entirely. but let me give you two dissenting views. the welfare reform program work. the greatest decrease in child poverty in america came under bill clinton with a republican congress in the late 1990's. that is just a fact. jeffrey is shaking his head. no, it is a fact. the lowest level of black children in poverty in history was 1997. you could make an argument that having a welfare system shift toward opportunity would work. >> i'm going to give you all the time you need. before that, what would you say then to those who read the "new york times" stories when they did to review 15 years after bill clinton's welfare to work program, that women and children were falling faster into poverty than anybody else? [applause] it was that program that helped push them in there? were they wrong?
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>> yes, but let me carry you two steps further. i have been working with a former california assembly leader on a project state-by- state to get people out of prison if they are there for non-violent crimes, to get them brought back into society. you cannot discuss how we will solve some of these problems without rethinking prison in america. [applause] ok? now that is a very difficult challenge for both parties. one last example, just to show you how we ought to be thinking differently -- unemployment compensation -- i just last week was with sebastian, who is at google, who taught a course with 151,000 people registered. 140,000 actually completed the course. the top 440 graduates were students who were not at stanford. they had taken the course and
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learned so much they'd be the highest-ranking stanford students -- date the highest- ranking stanford students -- they beat the highest-ranking stanford students. if you give people 99 weeks of unemployment, that should be an associate's degree. we have no provision today to say if you sign up for unemployment, here are courses you could take to help you get the skills so you could get a job. [applause] it is a fundamentally different approach. the key to poverty is productivity. the key to productivity is being honest about an underclass, in itself a very dangerous phrase. we do not have people who lack culture. we have people whose cultures are very destructive of their capacity to enter prosperity. [applause] >> let me ask just one question, and i want to get it out of the way so you can explain what you meant when you set it so that we can all hear it. i'm going to talk to mariana
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later in this conversation, and i know she wants to get into it. when you referred to barack obama as a food stamp president, tell me what you meant. that a vast majority who get food stamps are white. that could not possibly have been a reference to race. it takes the media to determine what i meant. he has followed policies which have limited job growth for the last four years. this is the weakest recovery of any period since the great depression, and if you do not get a recovery, you do not have jobs. if you do not have jobs, you are not in a position to help people get out of poverty because there's no place for them to go. we have had policies which make it relatively easy to extend unemployment, relatively easier to have food stamps, but we are not helping people get back to a level of investment and productivity that creates the kind of jobs we need to get out of here. you look at japan, which has been in recession since 1989.
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look at greece, which has over 25% unemployment. spain, over 25% unemployment. i worry about a recovery that is not creating jobs and not pulling people into a better future. >> i'm going to get everybody involved in this conversation. let me continue what i do of getting everybody at least initially involved. dr. west, let me come to you because i was running around doing some media today, and i understand you were as well. i actually was in the card today in the nation's capital when you were on a local radio program talking about this conversation tonight, so thank you for promoting that. i heard you start to sound off with regard to your thoughts about what it means for barack hussain obama to be sworn in to a second term as president on the king holiday. you heard the applause in this auditorium when i suggested that in my view, and i think in your view, that dr. king is the greatest american we have ever produced. we know he looms large. we know the inauguration is
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happening on the holiday. we know this is the first time a president will be inaugurated with the king memorial just down the street. his bible has been brought into the equation. help me, which you do so well given what you teach -- help me properly situate what is about to happen on monday vis-a-vis poverty in america. >> first, i want to salute you, my brother. we have been in the trenches now 20 years, sometimes misunderstood, sometimes divinize, sometimes ostracize, but we are stronger than ever, and we are still going. it is a blessing. but no one i got the news that my dear brother barack obama, president obama, was going to put his precious hand on martin luther king jr.'s bible, i got upset -- no -- know that when i got the news. you do not play with him or his
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people, people committed to peace and justice, and especially the black tradition that produced it. all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into producing a martin luther king jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you do not use his prophetic fire as just a moment in presidential pageantry without understanding the challenge that he presents to all of those in power, no matter what color they are. no matter what color they are. so the righteous indignation of martin luther king, jr., becomes a moment in political calculation, and that makes my blood boil. why?
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because martin luther king jr. died owing to three crimes against humanity he was wrestling with -- jim crow traumatizing, terrorizing, stigmatizing black people. lynching, not just segregation the way the press likes to talk about. second, bombs killing innocent people, especially innocent children. terribly, with poverty of all colors. he said it is a crime against humanity for the richest nation in the history of the world to have so many of his precious children of all colors living in poverty, and especially on the chocolate side of the nation, on indian reservations and brown arias and yellow slices and black ghettos. so i said to myself -- ok, there's nothing wrong with putting your hand on the bible, even though the bible is talking about justice, and jesus
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is talking about the least of these, but when it is martin's bible, i said this is personal for me because this is a tradition that i come out of. this is a tradition that is connected to my grandmother's prayers and my grandfathers sermons and my mother's tears and my father's smile, and it is against all of those in power who refuse to follow decent policy. so i say to myself, "brother martin luther king, jr., what would you say about the new jim crow? what would you say about the invisibility of our new prisoners?" especially when 50% of them are there for soft drugs but not one executive of the wall street banks has gone to jail. [applause] not one. martin does not like that. not one wiretapper. not one torturer under the bush
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administration. and what do you say about the drug is being dropped on the brothers and sisters in pakistan and somalia and yemen -- the drones being dropped? my voice hollers out, and do not take it with your hand on his bible. what would you say about the poverty in america now beginning with the children and the elderly and our working folks in all colors? not just here, around the world. do not hide and conceal his challenge. as much as i'm glad that barack obama won -- i think that brother mitt romney would have been a catastrophe -- brother newt told the truth about vampire capitalism, but that is the system as a whole. but when barack obama attempts to use that rich tradition of so many struggling to produce that voice that pushed martin in the direction that it did, i get upset. people say we are hating obama.
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no, we are living the tradition that produced martin luther king jr., and we will not allow it to be sanitized, deodorize, sterilized. we want the subversive power to be heard. that is what we think when he said he is going to put his hand on that bible. [applause] and i'm praying for him. i'm praying for him. as is newt. both of us christians. we are praying for him. putting pressure on him. >> dr. west mentioned the children.
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that is a perfect segue to go straight to jonathan and mariana. i mentioned earlier jonathan has done the best work, to my reading, of many years now and certainly has spent the most time with children in poor communities, and no one has done anything better than he has done, making, establishing, and helping us better understand the link between education and poverty. i think we all know there is a link between education and poverty, but jonathan has done the work on it. just give me a top line of this new book, "fire in the ashes," and the 25 years you spend with children and the links to poverty. >> cornel always gets my blood boiling because i agree with him so deeply. i'm old now, so i remember dr. king. i was a young teacher in boston and a white guy living in the black community, and the black ministers did me an honor of
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letting me stand by his side the first time he came to preach in boston common, and his words changed my life forever. that is when i turned my back on an academic life and decided to teach fourth graders in our poorest neighborhoods. i get so angry on his birthday or on martin luther king day -- i heard politicians who turned their back totally on every single thing he lived and died for, never lifted a finger to bring an end to apartheid in schooling, which is now at a higher rate than it was the year he died, and they say, "i, too, had a dream."
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you cannot play games with the dreams of our prophets. dr. king did not say he had a dream that someday in the canyons of our cities, north and south, we will have tests and anxiety-ridden schools. that was not his dream. we've ripped apart his legacy, and then we use his name in vain. my thing, as you know, is children. children in their schools. i'm not an economist. i was scared of numbers, but my world is children. the only tried and proven avenue of exit for the children -- the poorest children in this country from the destitution of their parents is to give them an absolutely terrific, exciting, beautiful, spectacular, and expensive public education. [applause]
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and to fund it not simply at the same high level as the richest suburbs, but at a higher level because those children need it more. to say one more thing about that -- in the past few years, class size has been soaring in our schools because they have been laying off teachers and. i walked into public schools in new york where i find 36 children in a fourth grade class like back in the 1960's. i walked into a high school in los angeles -- 40 kids in a 10th grade social studies class. i made the mistake of asking the teacher right in front of the kids how she teaches 40 kids in a classroom.
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she said, "do not ever ask that question. find out." and then she left the room. there are a lot of factors that go into terrific education, but one thing i know for sure is that the size of the class a teacher teaches is one of the most important factors in the entire pedagogic world. [applause] i have heard plenty of old time conservatives -- pat buchanan once yelled at me -- remember him? he once yelled at me on tv and said that was nonsense. "i have 50 in my class and it did not hurt me." i said, "well, i'm not sure." the fact of the matter is, i have rich friends that are so
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much like me. they will say to me, jonathan -- these are people who read my books and say they care about these poor kids in the bronx. they will say to me, jonathan, does class size really matter for the children? i always ask them where their kids go to school. how many children are in their class is. typically they are in a lovely suburb -- 16, 18, parents panic when it gets to 21. if they go to lovely private schools like sidwell friends here in washington, it is more like 15. then i see these kids packed into classrooms where there are more children than shares. i do not know how everybody else on this panel feels, but here's what i believe -- a very small class size and the intimate, affectionate attention enables a good teacher to get to every little girl and boy -- if that is good for the son of a prosperous position or a
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successful lawyer -- physician or a successful lawyer or a daughter of a senator or congressman or the president himself -- then it is good for the poorest child of the poorest woman in america. [applause] >> getting everybody involved here to have some fun -- let me come to you. jonathan talks so brilliantly -- i am thinking of the chicago teachers strike just months ago. the former chief of staff, he just announced -- now the mayor of chicago -- he demonized those teachers.
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most of the so-called liberal newspapers demonized the teachers, including "the new york times." one thing that hit me so viscerally -- the one decision that both of the teachers and the mayor got right was to leave the schools open during the strike so in the kids would have something to eat. remember this? but for those schools remain open, those kids in chicago would not -- 98% that qualify for the free lunch program, they would have nothing to eat daily while the teachers were on strike. your work is trying to establish an america, under free
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communities -- what does that say to us that in the city of chicago, this grand city of chicago, where the president is from -- i am not trying to demonize him -- schools have to be left open for the kids of that city to have something to eat? >> what does it say about america that we cannot decide on how to educate our children but all of a sudden we can think about what they are eating and make sure they get a meal? at the same time, think about, ok, let's make sure the kids are getting an education and school lunch, but forget about school breakfast. i think about the legacy of martin luther king -- if i can dip into that strong tradition and think about what he said, let us be dissatisfied. divine dissatisfaction with what is going on with this country in terms of our education system, but definitely
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with hunger. the fact that we have 50 million americans who live in food in secure homes, hungry holmes, last year. the majority were homes that had young children. if you think about it, one in four young children with an america under the age of six is suffering from food insecurity. we know that affects their childhood development. we know increases hospitalization rates. it costs us an enormous amount, not only socially, and human suffering, but economic suffering in terms of the health-care consequences and costs. long before a child even crosses the threshold of kindergarten, that child is potentially truncated because they are food insecure, they are hungry, their families to not have enough money for food. i went to pick back up on you, congressman gingrich -- when you say our programs do not work,
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you are absolutely wrong. i come from a tradition of science, a scientific background. i do scientific research on hunger and have been doing that for 15 years. i want to tell you, the food stamp program is one of the single most important programs that we have in this country. [applause] thank you. we know that food stamps prevent hospitalization for children. it is a good investment. think about pediatric hospitalization, it costs $24,000 for three days. that same amount of money could feed a family of four for one year. that is a great investment because it prevents hospitalization. it promotes job development, cognitive, social, emotional development, so by the time children are in school they can learn well. let's hope they can have breakfast and can get lunch as well so they can learn and listen to this teachers. learn about those traditions. the other program that worked
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beautifully is the wic program, women, infants, and children. i know you want to bring in the other people -- i have to speak to this. it brings the comments so far together. if we think about the program, 50% of the newborns in our country are poor enough to participate. one in two newborns. that is awesome effectiveness, awesome reach -- the rest of the world looks to us as a leader in making sure that we are preventing malnutrition and low birth weight. we know that is effective. but if you look at on the other side, think about the magnitude of child the poverty -- childhood poverty, that one in two eligible -- we have a major problem on our hands. when you think about what will happen, if sequestration happens, the discretionary budget -- how is it possible
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that the wic program is in the discretionary budget along with whether we build bombs? [applause] the wic program is potentially at risk if we are not careful. we must make sure that that program and the other programs such as early childhood education are protected, because for every $1 we spend on wic, over $3 is saved in medicare expenditures. we know that if wic actually works -- you are wrong in terms of whether our federal programs work. the two programs are phenomenal. they are fabulous. they work and they promote child health and well-being and make us a better country. [applause] >> one of the reasons why we are here for this conversation is to talk about what works, to debate what does not. we are going to get into that, i promise. the speaker will get a chance to respond and all of you will get a chance to respond.
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i want to -- i promise you we can mix things up. i'm glad we have almost three hours for this conversation. that is why i'm rushing through the first part. i will pick up the pace. i want to give everybody a chance. this is an issue that does not get talked about -- i want to take some time. maybe take some time and unpacked this. i want to say quickly we will come back to this -- our hashtag for those watching is #povertymustend. if you want to share this message around the world. our website is called afuturewithoutpoverty.com. when you go there, you'll see a letter that you can sign electronically that asks the president -- we will push this out by the thousands to the white house, asking the president to do two things. one, it is time for a president, in his second term, to give a major public policy address on the eradication of poverty in america.
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it is time for a major public policy address on eradicating poverty. after he gives that address, we are asking him to convene a white house congress on the eradication of poverty, to bring the experts together through the white house, from the left and the right, to have a conversation about treating the national plan that over a certain periodicals can cut poverty in half and over a greater time period move closer to eradicating poverty in the richest nation in the world. mr. president, it is time for a major policy address to eradicate poverty -- we want to know what you believe must be done to end poverty. will you consider convening a conference -- we're doing it right now on gun control. but look what it took for us to get to that point of doing it on
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gun control. what more has to happen? how many more people have to die or fall through the cracks before a leader decides it is important enough to convene the experts to create a national plan? so go to the website. you can assign the letter. we will push these letters out to the white house. i want to go to one of the great union leaders in this country -- we're going to hear from the speaker and everybody else, but there is something they have been advancing called the robin hood tax. it is gaining steam -- all kinds of influential americans are buying into this. i want you to hear about it from her as another solution to the poverty problem with america. [applause] >> on the robin hood tax -- is
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simply a tax on wall street. as we know, wall street does not pay its fair share. the minimum amount when stocks or bonds or derivatives or currencies are bought and sold, there is a minimum amount, 50 cents in the case of stocks, on a $100 trade. we all pay sales tax on everything that we buy. we sell something, we pay tax. this is paying to wall street -- you have gotten a pass. when you talk about jobs and education, i want to ask you, where are the jobs? they are not just trickling down or bubbling up -- there are no jobs in this country. i work for the labor movement -- it is being decimated by the right wing. i will talk about the financial transaction tax -- this is a part of the solution. i want to tell you, i represent registered nurses in the unions across this country. they are of the finest tradition
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of martin luther king -- they are about humanity. they do not make distinctions among patients. they do not care if you are rich or if you are poor, if you are black or if you are white, if you are a man or if you are a woman -- you are their patient. they protect you, the fight for you. what they're finding is because of profits in the health-care industry, the most inept system in the industrial world, the american medical system -- patients are being pushed out, children are coming with malnutrition. sometimes the only lunches they get are when they go into the emergency room. this -- the shame that basically our decision makers in wall street have brought to our country is presented to nurses on every shift at every hour in the hospitals in this country. you know what i love about nurses? they do not stop in terms of fighting. they fight like hell with their hospitals in terms of taking care of their patients.
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they see people when it is very late -- people who have not had cancer screenings. people who basically cannot afford their medication as the drug companies make $60 billion in profits. billions of dollars and trillions sitting in the reserves of the wealthy, and children are starving. people are at almost near-death. what the nurses have done is to say i will fight for them with in my hospital, but i will also fight for them in the streets. we've started a robin hood campaign that says, wall street, you are going to pay your fair share. i know jeffrey sacks is with us on this. we have been working with people all around the world. there are people on this board who have said, austerity is not the answer, we should tax wall street trades. [applause] basically, it is time to give something back. i actually wonder, i really wonder, do they care about what
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the nurses see? do they care about the vulnerability of america right now? one illness away from bankruptcy -- that is where everyone is. most people are underinsured. there will be 30 million people uninsured, even with obamacare, and even the people who have insurance cannot figure their insurance out. ultimately, the insurance companies are just robbing the country, along with the financial sector. people of being left out of jobs being created. [applause] their lousy jobs -- some of the jobs being created are hardly what you would consider jobs. i work for as a member of the labor movement.
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i represent nurses and fight like hell to make sure they can fight for their patience and themselves. but their retirement is under attack -- why should their retirement be under attack? the entitlement -- that is an entitlement? that is our money that paid for those entitlements that is being recycled back to us. we are pretty angry. we are organizing a movement -- it is in the streets and in congress and across the world. when are not going to stop. four nurses, they are not policy-makers. they do not have the comfort of being able to step back and say, that is not my problem. it is their problem every second of every day with hospitals. would you like me to talk about that robin hood tax? >> i will come back to you, i promise. you mentioned congress -- please welcome congresswoman marcia fudge. [applause] i'm trying to imagine -- we talked earlier about the fiscal
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cliff and debt ceiling. it is clear there is legislative gridlock in this town. what happens in the months to come with this kind of gridlock -- we already see the battle lines being drawn about what is to happen when these entitlements did on the table with in march. what happens to the poor as you see it in the coming months? >> let me first say, thank you so much for allow me to be part of this conversation. i am happy that you have been carrying on this kind of conversation over the last few years. let me try and see if i can put something in context for you -- i think that is something we never really talk about. a lot of this fiscal cliff stuff is really smoke and mirrors -- when you sit back and realize the largest portion of the debt of this country is really three things -- one is two wars we never paid for, what is a medicare part that we never paid for, and the other part is the bush tax cuts.
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those of the largest portions of the debt of this nation. what they're trying to do now by cutting what you call entitlements and i call and benefits -- [applause] is to protect the cuts they have already made. if you look at where we are, earned benefits, and there is really only one entitlement, which is medicaid -- if we do not have enough of a moral imperative to take care of the poorest people in this country, i do not know what we are all doing here. we have to stop and think about how we can, in a congress that is supposed to represent the will of the people, we ignore 46 million people. it did not just art under this president -- when george bush became president of the united states, 17 million people were in poverty. when he left, 30 million people were in poverty. that does not include them going into the ditch that we went into as he was leaving office. this has been a problem for a
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very long time. i think what we have to understand is you cannot just cut and constrict government. when you do, it goes all the way down the pipeline. it is not a cut -- is a shift. when you start cutting at the local, state, and county levels, you create a bigger problem than you think you have solved. it is all a game -- >> i have one more person to get involved -- let me ask for a follow-up. you accurately laid out what happened to poverty and the bush and ministration, and then stopped, as if we stopped than.
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when barack obama was elected -- poverty numbers continue to get worse. on barack obama -- put the facts on the table. they kept getting worse under barack obama -- sachs writes about this. i'm not doing this to demonize, but i'm wondering how is your mind that poverty gets made a priority, whether the president is a republican or a democrat? >> i think i did say that when we went into the ditch as bush came out of office, poverty continue to increase. there is no question about that. it has increased significantly. i do not believe that as a nation, not just the white house but the bottom up, any of us have done enough to address the issues of poverty in this country. we talk about dr. king. one of the things he said was there comes a time when silence
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is betrayal. [applause] any president is going to address issues we may can address. whoever the president is -- republican or democrat, no matter what. i can say in all fairness that even though i do not believe any of us have done enough, if you look at the two major pieces of legislation that were passed by this white house, obamacare, which everybody has been yelling and screaming about, significantly help poor people, significantly. [applause] if you look at the stimulus, in the stimulus there was $2 billion for food stamps. there was more money for head start and has ever been put into a bill for head start. there was more money put into poor schools. pell grants were increased.
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unemployment was extended. i am not saying it was enough, but i am saying, put the facts on the table and go from there. if we had not done that, it would be worse. >> fair enough. let's get more facts on the table. we are not even an hour in. i still have a lot of time to work this. let me go to john graham, the dean of environmental affairs at indiana university. a new book out called "america's poor" and the great recession. i want to read a small piece in this book, a paragraph, to give you a sense of what the book is. "i am conscious of the limitations born of legislative gridlock between liberals and conservatives. we put together a set of proposals for reducing poverty while still protecting the budget and enhancing long-term financial security. these recommendations include -- here is the list -- include indexing the federal minimum wage to inflation, restructuring medicaid reimbursement, targeting program recipients more precisely, allocating funds in concert with the business cycle, creating a systematic effort to provide subsidized employment and job training, and putting in place party impact
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analysis to identify new and low-cost avenues for poverty reduction. they will not only succeed in reducing poverty, but also succeed in congress." a list of things you detailed that you believe can succeed in congress -- both the left and the right can actually agree on some of these ideas that you laid out in this book. tell me why you are hopeful that any of these ideas could be agreed on by the left and the right. >> thank you for allowing me to be here today and offering a midwest perspective on these issues. i would like to give the two
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good pieces of news from the midwest. both president bush and president obama realized that having a government that is at war on the auto industry is not good for america. the result is we have lots of new people being hired in the midwest, not only at gm and chrysler but also honda and toyota. it is not as benefiting the executives -- there are $5,000 bonus is going to workers at gm and ford this year. another example is natural gas -- both president bush and president obama recognized having a regulatory system that smothers innovation in the natural gas industry is not help the economy. both have allowed an explosion in the natural gas production. one of the cleanest fuels --
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this is causing jobs in manufacturing it used to be gone to china to come back to the united states. that has been a positive development for our economy. the first point i want to make, when the two parties can get together on some of these issues this and that things can happen. with respect to poverty specifically, i think it is a well-kept secret of mitt romney and barack obama advocated indexing the minimum wage to the rate of inflation. it does not matter now, because we have no inflation, but if the economy gets better and we do not index the minimum wage to inflation people at the bottom of the income spectrum are going to lose ground rather than gain ground in the recovery that is a modest sensible thing we should all agree on. >> that is pretty good for a dean. i'll give you all the leeway you need to do that.
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i wonder if you can help me imagine what a white house conference to eradicate poverty with the left and right present to talk about ideas that could work if they could agree on -- give me a sense of at this moment what some of the ideas on the table might be that could get this moving, and you can respond to what you wanted to earlier. >> part of the challenges that most of the experts who supposedly would come to a conference like that are already experts of ideas that did not work. i think it is important to understand that. the example i gave about sebastian -- if he succeeds and can produce a undergraduate education with a 90% reduction in tuition, he does change, additional opportunity with in america in a way that is
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staggering and will help. i guarantee it will be hard to talk about a world in which tuition drops 90%, because you challenge all their incomes. education -- i agree almost entirely with what we talked about earlier with education. i spent a year with the secretary of education in this administration and reverend al sharpton going around the country. it was an enormous privilege. i guarantee you, as a white republican walking into an inner-city baltimore school, my standing was zero. none of the kids had a clue who i was. they all knew who al sharpton was. i was allowed to be part of the conversation as his sidekick. let me give you to ban things that will be interesting to pick up on a little bit. the fact is, for 60% of most
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public schools, catholic schools graduate an extraordinarily high percent of kids who go to college. a thought experiment -- what if we said to catholic schools, we will let you enroll as many poor children, and we will fund it? overnight, you have an explosion of highly disciplined schools with passionate teachers that costs 60% as much and can get to 15 students per class. i give you that as an example. or take a variety of other things, where you have certain kinds of charter schools that have extraordinary graduation rates. i was in a school in philadelphia, a public charter school -- i had a junior in the school, and the same building, the same neighborhood, the same students, but in three years' time fundamentally changed culturally. they said, but in the old school they expected us to fight, so we thought.
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in the school, they said the first time the fight will be kicked out. and i wanted to go to college. every teacher's colleagues -- every teacher was engaged. the question of day was not a going to cut, but what college you going to? there was a fundamental change, in a very poor neighborhood. i would be for whatever level of funding it up. i think he pointed 15 students is right. poor children need more schooling and better schooling the middle-class and upper- middle-class kids. that is a fact. last point -- i never said we should abolish the food stamp program, which i have voted for. i never said abolish wic, which i voted for. i will suggest to you, after 49 years of in johnson's war on poverty, if you tell us there are 50 million kids who are in insecure food environments, i
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would have to ask you, what is wrong with the food stamp program that as kids do not have adequate nutrition, and what do we need to do to change the system, because there is something profoundly wrong when we spend this much money and have that big of a gap. [applause] >> thank you. let's deal with this now -- my friend newt gingrich and a lot of my other republican friends, when they want to make a point about what is not working, what my friend danny davis would say -- when they want to make a point of what is not the answer to the prayer where poverty is concerned, they go right at johnson's war on poverty. was the war on poverty a failure, did it had its successes, did we see the number of poor start to go down? contextualize for me the way you see the war on poverty. let me hear your point of view. >> first of all, the kennedy- johnson years had the biggest decline of poverty in the history of this country. it has been at conservative
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propaganda to repeat this was a failure over and over again. it is nonsense. if you look of the poverty rate of 1959 and compared to the end of the decade, that was the biggest single drop we ever had. that was pure propaganda. the fact of the matter is, when you say we need to carve out protection of wic education, it is all going down. we should understand, there is no carving out now. it is under assault. we just passed what was called the victory -- we just made permanent the bush era tax cuts for 99% of the households in this country. that was the so-called victory -- what we are doing is breaking the base to stand on any of these programs. newt says he will support it if he works -- but we do not have money on that because taxes on wall street disappeared. taxes on the corporate sector disappeared. look at where the corporate sector keeps its money -- cayman islands.
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that is next due mitt's money. we have constructed this -- i have to say, sad to say, there is a deeper, lurking truth -- this is not paralysis in washington. this is a bipartisan approach, unfortunately. [applause] both parties, both parties have been on this. the only difference is the republicans do it gleefully, the democrats do it wringing their hands. they are both with the corporate sector. they have both decided with cutting the taxes on the top. they are both party to the disappearance of the civilian programs of our national government, which work, and if you look at the budget, unfortunately which president obama has put on the table, the civilian discretionary budget, the discretionary budget under this president has declined from 4% of national income in
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2010 down to below 2% by the end of this decade, 1.7% of national income. for what -- for jobs? for training? for education? for all the infrastructure? for the environment? for climate? for science? for technology? we are getting the government. this is the hard truth. what is going to happen in two months is to solidify this. nobody is speaking out for the government. we're talking of protecting the few entitlements -- that is the rearguard action. do not kill everything. but we'll squeeze into nothing. you are absolutely right -- the top cannot pay. they have been given every way to get their money out tax-free.
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it is trillions of dollars that have been lost, in addition to what has been wasted. [applause] >> it is about to get fun. if i can get some quick responses -- i want to come to you. jeffrey sachs said a moment ago -- there is a bipartisan consensus that the poor just do not matter. they end up being more and more invisible. talk about a guy like in johnson who in doing what he did make it clear that he knew he was writing off the south for the next 30 years of pushing the programs he pushed, the war on poverty, the civil rights act. let me ask you a question -- i think i can predict your answer. let me ask you, have the democrats abandoned poor people? have they abandoned the issue of poverty? [applause] have the democrats abandoned the poor?
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>> i'm going to come down hard. >> thank you so much. >> you go first. >> let me say two things. i'm not owned by anybody. no corporations or anybody else. secondly, let me say that democrats have in a lot of ways written off poverty -- i would disagree with that. it is no different than guns. if they cannot figure out what to do about it, they do not do anything. but let me also say the congressional black caucus has taken this issue up year after year after year. nobody fights for poor people more. it was the congressional black caucus that basically was willing to hold off on the last but we took because of the pay- fors. people said, how did you pay for
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the doc fix ? they pay for it by cutting things like dialysis and renal failure treatment and diabetes -- who does that affect? we understand clearly that our caucus is not always on outside. they get so caught up in all of the middle class of this and that -- let me say that the congressional black caucus just had its retreat today. we said, we are not going to go for raising the age of medicare. puttingt going for social security on the table. we know that just increases the poverty in this country. >> since you went there, and i want to be transparent and always authentic in these conversations to make progress -- you are the new chair of the congressional black caucus, stuff that you now and saying stuff -- you have seen it
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reported everywhere. the first black president, barack obama, and the congressional black caucus had an interesting dance you or were doing in the first term. you can read about it at a variety of sources -- there was some tension between the white house and the congressional black caucus. you all decided you were going to go out anyway and create your own jobs. he went around the country and set up these jobs fairs. the tension between the white house -- at one point you could not get a meeting. at one point you could not get a meeting with the vice president inside the white house. i am raising them because i am wondering what that relationship is going to be like now that you are the new chair. in the second term -- what happens to the black poor? i was stunned by this. when you did raise your voices, often in tension with the white house. the district would go off on you
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for giving the black president a hard time. >> that is true. >> i am just asking how this relationship is going to work in the second term given that the black poor are hurting the most. >> let me say, my perspective on this -- i can only speak for myself being the new chair. i certainly anticipate having a good relationship with the white house, but i would say what i say to everyone -- the president's job is different from my job. i come from one of the poorest cities in america. i believe that with any president, you have to say what you believe. if that means pushing, then we have to push. i do not believe that any president wants to ignore the pressing issues of our day, whether it be poverty or any
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other, but they have so much underplayed that if we do not do what we need to do, then it is our fault. [applause] >> and now for the hammer. >> i think that is fair. what i was one to say is that i think there has been a shameful silence, not just in the black community, but in the progressive community, of talking about the white house which talks one way but often moves with in another direction. is time to be open about that. the black caucus, i can understand -- you have a black constituency who themselves have a protective disposition for a black president who has been viciously and unfairly attacked from the right. by fox news and other places -- i do not mind the critique, but when they start lying, i have got to defend the president. you have a president dealing with a right wing, a backlash with a black man in the white house.
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but often he is not defensible when it comes to issues of the poor, prison industrial complex, and so forth. you just cannot defendant. that is the simple silence that brother tavis is talking about -- one that needs to be highlighted precisely because the legacy of harold washington -- those politicians on the inside is still tried to move in certain directions and got a lot of trouble. i want to get to a point about fundamental change -- we do need fundamental change. but part of it has to do with the point about jobs. you can have all the magnificent education in the world like they do in greece, but if you of their jobs they of nowhere to go. why is it that we do not have high-quality jobs? one reason is because in the last 30 years you have had the financial sector and wall street moved to the center -- 41% of profits going to the big banks to do not generate jobs or generate any well connected to productive value.
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it is well in private pockets. they're sitting on $3.4 trillion right now. they have $700 billion worth of bailouts -- that homeowners did not get but the banks got. they also got nearly interest free loans of $7.7 trillion. can not some of that money be used for decent housing? quality education? jobs with a living wage? [applause] our priority is are so warped because we're living in a culture that is shot through with corrupt self-interest and greed. nobody cares about the notions of solidarity. that is why i oppose them talking about education -- not because i do not trust these human beings, but eradicating poverty.
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public education is predicated on the notion you are focused on other kids -- you have to be concerned about all children. not any longer -- all this privatizing profit obsession, this preoccupation with this short-term gain as opposed to long-term integrity, is being pushed to the side. i do not care what color you are, what class you are -- we ought to be honest about it. we ought to tell the truth about it. the only way we're going to turn it around. >> i want to ask a quick follow- up -- we will bounce around. we can start to mix this up.
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it point by question -- all the times we have talked on tv and radio, private conversations, i have never asked to this. let me ask you on national television. >> i was going to say, after the brilliant oratory you are going to ask questions? >> as you will see, it is simple but complex -- do you believe that there is class warfare in this country? >> i believe there is a fix between the big boys in the federal reserve, the new york banks, and those who wrote dodd-frank. i believe that bill is a disaster because it shifts power right to the 10 biggest banks. it basically creates a government-bank coalition. i think it is amazing we went to the last five years and there have been no shifts, unlike the 1930's, no serious
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investigations of what happened to all the money. [applause] i find myself thinking, i am about to agree with dr. west on a topic -- dissertations could be written about this particular thing. the only place you puzzle me is when secretary duncan and reverend sharpton and i went around -- we were going around with the precise goal of helping all the children. we wanted everybody -- public education can also be publicly funded education as long as it is open to everyone. it cannot have any restrictions. i want to find a way to get to schools -- i would say, in terms of public education in the current structure -- if you could tie the money to performance and ensure that there was a rapid change in any building where the children are not being served well, then i
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would be much more comfortable, and i'm willing to go to 15 children per classroom. i think that point is exactly right. >> jonathan, is the speaker right or wrong? >> i do not want to waste too much time tonight on rehashing the voucher argument, the right wing and voucher argument. now the conservatives do not call it voucher's anymore, they have other sweeter terms for it. >> are charter terms the answers? >> no. there are a few good charter schools to get the lion's share of attention because they are clever and selective in who they admit and selective about who cares about them in the first place. charter schools, especially the ones that again private corporate money from right-wing foundations, what they represent is a narrowing of the
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civic virtue to the smallest possible parameters. i will fight for my kids in this little boutique school of 200 children. i will not raise my voice for all the millions left behind. more importantly, a follow-up on cornel's point -- you talk about the trillions of dollars sitting there on wall street. i want to make a concrete, specific useful suggestion for president obama -- get a hold of that kind of money. the best preventive medicine that i know of -- rescue children from hereditary poverty. that is, give them absolutely rich, full, exciting, enticing, not drilling, but developmental
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preschool, starting when they're two years old. [applause] i am sick of people, and i was not a new, but one member of congress who is with us here tonight -- and i will not say who, but one member of congress who is with us here tonight, that there is no proof this works. ask any teacher in america if kids in her class -- you will find out whether it works. every kindergartner, every first grade teacher, knows right away. the crime is that even with modest increases that the congressman referred to, very modest increases, more than half of the poor eligible children in this country do not even get a single year of anything at all resembling real preschool education. education.